Bears’ free agent CB Corey Graham led the NFL in special teams tackles in 2010 (25). He made it to a Pro Bowl in 2011, also as a special teams player. Now he wants a full-time shot on defense.
Graham played 89 defensive snaps for the Bears in 2011 and recorded three picks off only 11 targets.
And Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke was impressed with Graham’s contributions on defense. “He went in there and worked his butt off,” Hoke said. “He’s done a lot of good things for this team.”
But despite the praise, the Bears have been hesitant to give Graham the opportunity to start and have only elevated him to defense when injury dictated they do so.
Graham was a free agent prior to the 2011 season and wanted to test the defensive waters then, but, given the lockout shortened off season, Graham and he ultimately re-signed with the Bears for one more year.
This off season, however, he will take his time.
According to NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, Graham will visit with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday with more teams scheduled throughout the week.
Perhaps more importantly: Canfora says Graham is being looked at, not only as a special teams addition, but as a cornerback and a safety.
"Of course, I want to be outside,'' Graham told the Tribune about playing defense. "I can play any of those positions. I can play nickel. I can play corner. I can play safety . . .''
Graham does provide the Bears’ roster with defensive depth, being able to look to him as needed, but given the premium the Bears place on special teams, he’s likely to retain his role if he stays in Chicago.
The Bears re-signed backup safety and special teams ace Craig Steltz this off season and also brought in Pro Bowl special teamer Eric Weems via free agency.
But, should one of the teams Graham is expected to meet with give him the opportunity to compete for a defensive position, the Bears will likely be saying goodbye.