Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Who’s #53 for the Bears? Who the heck is Darryl Sharpton? I heard those questions a lot on Sunday during the Bears’ surprising 27-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears, who limped into the game with their top four linebackers sidelined with injuries, called upon a bunch of “no name” linebackers to lead the Bears defense against one of the top offenses in the league. I have to admit, when I heard the names Christian Jones, Khaseem Greene and Darryl Sharpton as the Bears starting linebackers, I thought two things. 1) we’re screwed and 2) who is Darryl Sharpton? After a strong showing on Sunday, I had to do a little research about Sharpton, who’s not just another random Phil Emery waiver wire claim.
Phil Emery has been churning the bottom of the Bears roster so much every week, that it’s easy to overlook who he’s bringing in. Most of the guys coming in are undrafted free agents or late round roster cuts who couldn’t cut it elsewhere. That’s not the case with Darryl Sharpton. He’s an experienced veteran with a nice linebacking resume.
The 5-11 linebacker was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans out of Miami (FL). Coming out of “The U” is a pretty good pedigree to begin with and was named 2nd team All-ACC in his senior season. Sharpton appeared in 12 games as a rookie and recorded 34 tackles. He played a reserve role for the Texans for the first three years with the Texans until he was pressed into action to fill in for Brian Cushing, who went out with a broken leg in 2013. Sharpton had a terrific season including 87 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass defended and 6 stuffs in 15 games.
Sharpton was targeted by the Redskins in the offseason, signing a 1-year deal in March of 2014 worth up to $2 million. It didn’t get that far as a preseason high ankle sprain led to his contract getting terminated on September 22nd. Phil Emery scooped him up on September 24th.