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A closer look at the newest Bears linebacker, A.J. Klein

The Bears picked up a veteran linebacker in the Roquan Smith trade, so let’s learn a little about A.J. Klein.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

As a part of the Roquan Smith trade with the Baltimore Ravens, the Chicago Bears received veteran linebacker A.J. Klein in the deal. Klein hasn’t played much for the Ravens this year (just 1 start in 2 games) after signing with them off the Giants practice squad. However, the 31-year-old has started 81 of the 136 games he’s played in during his ten-year career that began with the Panthers (2013-2016), on to the Saints (2017-2019), and then the Bills (2020-2021).

With his last significant action coming in Buffalo, I reached out to Matthew Waren, the former Editor-in-Chief at Buffalo Rumblings, to fill me in on what Klein could offer the Bears.

“He’s limited athletically but is a smart, capable linebacker that’s lost a step,” Warren told me. “He will bring stability and hopefully can help the younger guys a little, especially if he re-signs and they have an offseason together. He has a lot of starting experience around the league and was able to step into the starting linebacker role when the excellent Bills’ tandem had an injury. He also plays a lot of special teams.”

During his career, he has had 454 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, 22 QB Hits, 4 interceptions, 20 passes defended, 8 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries.

My guess is he’ll play some on the third phase once he’s up to speed in Chicago, and there’s an outside shot he could get some reps at either the Mike or the Sam. Ideally, the Bears get UDFA linebackers Jack Sanborn and Sterling Weatherford some time, leaving Klein as veteran insurance.