Bears Set to Work Out Former Lions, University of Illinois Defender

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The Chicago Bears got a win over the Tennessee Titans in their preseason opener and, ahead of their week of preparation for Week 2 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, they are exploring adding some depth.

“#Bears working out former #Lions and Illinois @IlliniFootball linebacker Isaac Darkangelo on Monday,” tweeted Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 on August 13. “He led top-ranked scoring defense in tackles with 71 stops last season before going undrafted and was two-time academic All-Big Ten @bigten selection.”

Bears Hosting Ex-Lion Defender, Illini Standout Isaac Darkangelo

Tale of The Tape for Isaac Darkangelo

Darkangelo is a 6-foot-1, 230-pounder who recorded 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and one forced fumble in 13 games last season for the Illini.

The Lions waived him in May but he gets a new opportunity to show what he can do.

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“He’s a dude,” said University of Illinois linebackers coach Andy Buh, per Joey Wagner of 247 Sports on April 29. “He kind of a throwback linebacker. … “He brings a workmanlike attitude to the building every day.”

That is a key attribute for the 23-year-old Darkangelo to possess.

He would be joining an increasingly deep linebacker position on a Bears roster that general manager Ryan Poles re-tooled this offseason.

They added starters Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, reserve/special teamers Dylan Cole and Buddy Johnson in free agency, got Jack Sanborn back from an ankle injury that cut his 2022 campaign short, and drafted Noah Sewell in the fifth round with the No. 148 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

They have also come across some encouraging potential special teams or practice squad options. Rookie undrafted free agent Micah Baskerville and third-year man Barrington Wade both flashed during training camp.

The former even record one of the team’s 8.0 sacks on Titans quarterbacks in the opener.

Bears Battling Through Several Injuries

In addition to whatever he may bring to the Bears on the practice field, there are even more practical reasons to bring him in. They have already had to navigate an injury absence with Edmunds missing the opener. It never hurts to have more bodies, especially with the NFL moving to one roster cut-down day going from 90 players to 53.

The Bears will likely play their starters a bit more next week. How much could depend on their plans for the third and final week of the preseason when they will face the Buffalo Bills, though.

They were also dealing with absences along the offensive line (Nate Davis) and wide receiver (Chase Claypool) in the opener, with the former presenting a more impactful threat than the latter since offensive lines need cohesion.