This reunion makes sense for the Chicago Bears

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus and Shaquille Leonard go way back

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Linebacker Shaquille Leonard, three-time Pro Bowler, was released by the Indianapolis Colts, per NFL.com. But it could be the start of a new chapter in his career with the Chicago Bears and Matt Eberflus, his former defensive coordinator at Indy. Both would benefit from the reunion.

In Eberflus' Tampa 2 scheme in Indy, Leonard was a stud, earning 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and leading the league win tackles with 163, per Pro Football Reference. One of the best off-ball linebackers in the league, he earned the nickname The Maniac and wreaked havoc along the way while guiding the Colts to two playoff trips (2018, 2020).

As Leonard continued winning awards, the Colts' defense succeeded, as well. The stingy defense was No. 8 in yards allowed in 2020 and No. 9 in points scored in 2021 thanks to Leonard's playmaking ability and Eberflus' leadership, per Pro Football Reference.

Make no mistake, Leonard's numbers were as impressive as it gets. He's one of just five players since 1994 to have at least 500 tackles, 10 sacks, and 30 tackles for a loss in their first four seasons, joining Bears Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher and a slew of others, per NFL Research.

Leonard is arguably one of the best players Eberflus coached in Indy. What makes him special is his ability to stuff the run and defend the pass, making him a coveted weakside linebacker, signing a five-year, $98 million contract with the Colts in 2021.

Adding Leonard to the lineup would most definitely be fitting when you look at the Bear's history at linebacker.

It just might help Eberflus keep his job a little longer. If he can get any juice out of Leonard, it could be a game-changer for the Bears' struggling defense. As previously mentioned, Leonard's a solid scheme fit for Eberflus and the Bears.

Yes, they already have T.J. Edwards at weakside linebacker, and Leonard's reoccurring back injuries are a concern, but the Bears could still use a player like Leonard, especially since they're staring at another losing season.

Something the Bears should consider is Leonard's off-field habits, which set him apart. One of the first things he did after being cut by the Colts was attending a Thanksgiving food drive, handing out 200 turkeys to the less fortunate. He also tweeted out a classy farewell to the city that gave him a chance. This is a player you want on your team.

Besides the Bears, Leonard has also been linked to the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles.


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