GM Ryan Poles sent a message on Wednesday. The Chicago Bears usually never claimed more than two players on waivers during final cuts. That tradition got flipped on its head when they secured six new faces. Most of the buzz surrounded former 1st round offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and veteran defensive tackle Armon Watts. However, there is also an undercurrent of people claiming they got another steal in Sterling Weatherford.
The rookie was teammates with Bears 5th round pick Dominique Robinson at Miami of Ohio. Across four seasons (36 games) as a safety, he racked up 209 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 19 passes defended. Weatherford had a reputation for being a vocal leader, intelligent, tough, and reliable tackler. There were no glaring holes in his game. Experts had him rated as a likely 4th round pick. So it was surprising that he went undrafted. Part of the stipulation for his arrival in Indianapolis with the Colts was switching to linebacker.
That didn’t seem to bother him. He finished second in the league with 18 tackles during the preseason and added an interception for good measure. It was surprising when the Colts cut him, but apparently, they felt he would end up on their practice squad. Chicago soon destroyed that fantasy. GM Chris Ballard wasn’t happy about it.
.@Colts GM Chris Ballard says losing LB Sterling Weatherford – who was claimed on waivers by the Bears today – was a “hard one.” Team liked him.
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) August 31, 2022
Sterling Weatherford 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/m92AcYBHiv
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) August 31, 2022
Sterling Weatherford must be good if Ballard is angry.
Many believe the Colts GM is among the best talent evaluators in the entire NFL. When he likes somebody, it is worth taking note of. Poles should know. He worked together with Ballard in Kansas City for years. It says a lot about his own eye for talent that he recognized his friend and colleague might’ve made a mistake. Either way, the rookie couldn’t have fallen into a better situation.
Matt Eberflus is a linebacker specialist. He knows the position better than most. Assistant coach Dave Borgonzi helped develop All-Pro Shaquille Leonard in Indianapolis. If Sterling Weatherford has something to offer, the Bears will find it. He’s got 6’3 size to go along with 4.60 speed. At the very least, he has the makings of a quality backup and special teams stalwart. If he takes to the coaching well, he can become much more.
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