We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
At 6-6, 265 pounds Austen Lane has the appearance of an NFL defensive end. His career production and journey, however, tell a much different story. The 26-year-old Evanston native has started 17 games since his rookie campaign in 2010 and tallied just three sacks. His best season came in 2012 with the Jacksonville Jaguars when he racked up two sacks, one forced fumble and 32 tackles.
By 2013 he had been released by the Jaguars, claimed off waivers and then released again by the Kansas City Chiefs and then spent a whopping 22 days as a Detroit Lion before being released yet again. Lane may be a young journeyman, but he’s one that the Bears will look now to for added depth on their often-problematic defensive line.
Lane isn’t the only Bears player being honored today though. He will have to share today with his teammate Cody Booth. Booth is a 6-4, 292-pound tackle who spent the first three years of his college career as a tight end while at Temple. He then started 11 of 12 games at left tackle during his senior campaign. Booth brings great versatility to the Bears and added depth behind starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod. He may also be able to help push right tackle Jordan Mills during training camp and provide some healthy competition at the spot. As an added bonus, Booth has experience as a long snapper, a position that will now be wide open for the team with Patrick Mannelly’s recent retirement announcement.
Lane and Booth may not be the household names that Bears fans know and love, but they should be a big part of everyone’s conversations today as we’re just 73 days away from kickoff!
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th. We’re 73 days until kickoff. Are you ready???