Ray McDonald Blew His Chance and Bears Own Up To Their Mistake By Releasing Him

Ray McDonald Blew His Chance and Bears Own Up To Their Mistake By Releasing Him
Former Bears defensive tackle Ray McDonald (71) stretches during minicamp at Halas Hall. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

The Bears signed defensive end Ray McDonald just two months ago. On Monday, the 30-year-old was arrested for the second time in nine months and with that his time in Chicago is already over. Perhaps in the NFL as well.

McDonald was arrested for two charges including misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment, the Santa Clara, Calif., police department said. It marks the second time since Aug. 31 that he’s been arrested after a woman claimed that he assaulted them.

“We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a statement on Monday. “He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him.”

According to the Santa Clara police, McDonald was arrested Monday after officers discovered that “he physically assaulted the victim while she was holding a baby.” The police arrived at McDonald’s residence at 3:48 a.m. PT, but McDonald had already left. The arrest came at a house owned by his former San Francisco 49er teammate Justin Smith.

Luckily, the Bears get out of this jam with no money wasted after they signed him to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with no guaranteed money on Mar. 24.

However, Pace and the McCaskey’s don’t look wise with the initial decision to add him to the roster. George McCaskey met with McDonald himself after McDonald flew out to Chicago on his on bill and Virginia McCaskey approved the signing after meeting with him as well.

San Francisco released McDonald on Dec. 17 after eight seasons. This came after a woman accused him of sexual assault in San Jose, Calif.

General manager Trent Baalke cited a “pattern of poor decision making” as the reason he was cut loose by the 49ers.

“Those things we’ve looked into,” Pace told the Tribune about McDonald on Mar. 24. “I can tell you this, we know those are ongoing. But we wouldn’t be where we’re at right now if we didn’t feel comfortable with where that’s at. So it’s been thorough.”

The move came after defensive coordinator Vic Fangio recommended McDonald, a player he coached the past four seasons in San Francisco.

“He [McDonald] made a mistake putting himself in those positions for that to happen,” Fangio told the Tribune on April 28. “But ultimately he was not charged with anything, so we felt good about it here.”

McDonald put up numbers in Fangio’s 3-4 defensive front, generating 14.5 sacks and 112 tackles over the last four seasons as a starting defensive tackle. However, that doesn’t justify what he’s been arrested for and accused of in his past and on Monday.

During Pace’s introduction press conference on Jan. 9, he told the Chicago media this: “we are not just collecting athletes, we are acquiring football players that fit the Chicago Bears.”

“There will be a major emphasis on character, toughness, instincts and intelligence,” he said.

This will all be forgotten in due time, but this makes the Bears organization look flat out stupid and not very credible.

I wasn’t a fan of the move at the time considering his dark past. I loved his production on the field, but when a player is so consumed with the off the field issues, the cons get outweighed by the pros.

The Bears did the right thing by swiftly tossing McDonald off the team and commenting on his boneheaded mistake. There is no place for what he did Monday and what he has done.

As bad as the Bears thought they had it last season with the mistakes of Marc Trestman, the drama that offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer created with the media about Jay Cutler and all the Brandon Marshall stuff that led to his release; what happened with McDonald is way worse and Pace has to learn from this terrible mistake.

Luckily, there was an easy way out of the contract, but at age 37 and in his first year as a general manager Pace has to be smarter with his moves. Expect plenty of questions for Pace when the Bears return to practice later this month.

The Bears are awfully thin at the defensive end position now with Jarvis Jenkins serving as the only pure 3-4 guy. Second-year players Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton are expected to see time there too. Of course, all of the pure defensive ends (Jared Allen, David Bass, Lamarr Houston, Cornelius Washington and Willie Young) will play there in 4-3 hybrid fronts.

Bears’ Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long had some strong words for McDonald after his release earlier Monday afternoon.

Thoughts on the Ray McDonald saga with the Bears?

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