DE Addison one to keep an eye on
DE Addison looks to be key signing
By Kyle Garmes, on August 19th, 2011
Guys like Vernon Gholston and Amobi Okoye dominated attention when the Bears made free-agent signings to their defense during a shortened offseason.
But lying in the weeds is rookie Mario Addison, who was also a free agent — but not the kind that guys necessarily want to be.
Addison, a defensive end from Troy University, wasn’t selected in this year’s draft back in April. The Bears signed him as a free agent in late July, and with Corey Wootton out with a knee injury, it’s been Addison — and not Gholston — who’s emerged more as a viable backup while guys like Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije start.
“When (Corey) went down, I was like, ‘Oh, man, I hate to see a good player like him go down,’” Addison said. “But I knew when he went down, Coach was looking for somebody to step up, and I said, ‘This would be an opportunity to really show what I’m about, because Coach was going to give me more reps, if he was to put me in the second spot, which he did. So I’m doing all I have.”
Troy isn’t the biggest name in college football, but the small school in Alabama has produced big names on the defensive front in recent years. New York Giants star defensive end Osi Umeniora and Dallas Cowboys stud DeMarcus Ware both attended the school. Now Addison, listed at 6-foot-3, 251 pounds, will try to make a name for himself and add to that legacy. He gave plenty of credit to his old school, saying it prepare him “a lot” for the next step.
“That’s one thing about Troy, we produce defensive ends, and we had a lot of great defensive ends that came form Troy,” Addison said. “And the coaches, they worked with us, day after day … so, they prepared us well.”
Addison had one tackle in the opening preseason game against the Bills, a Bears win in which Wootton was injured on the opening kickoff.
Addison went with the second team when camp resumed, and Bears head coach Lovie Smith likes his potential. Addison agreed that he has to work on stopping the run, but Smith pointed out his athleticism and ability as a big guy to move and get after the quarterback.
“Great quickness,” Smith said. “He’s getting better and better with his pass-rush technique. So we have high hopes for him.”
Gholston, who was picked sixth in the 2008 draft by the New York Jets, and Okoye, who went 10th to Houston the year before, had more glamour than Addison in college and the early parts of their pro careers.
Addison played two years at Northeast Mississippi Community then redshirted a year at Troy. Neither Gholston nor Okoye has yet to live up to his potential, but both are in their mid-20s and still may very well turn things around.
But for now, Addison looks like he could be the best free-agent signing on the defensive line this offseason for the Bears.