The Bears are fully behind defensive tackle Eddie Goldman’s decision to opt out of the 2020 season. General manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy both voiced their support of Goldman in a news conference via Zoom on Wednesday.
“As we go through that process, specifically with Eddie Goldman, we just recognize that this is personal for everyone,” Pace said. “And you’re just very respectful and supportive of that decision. Both Matt and I talked to Eddie, we relayed that to Eddie. Eddie is an important part of our team and our family, and we’re going to welcome him back at the appropriate time.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the news Tuesday that Goldman would sit out the season, citing health concerns related to COVID-19. Goldman, 26, was a Pro Bowl alternate last year and has started at least 15 games in each of the past three season for the Bears, primarily at nose tackle.
More than two dozen NFL players have reportedly opted out of the 2020 season, citing health concerns related to COVID-19. Six New England Patriots opted out on Tuesday, according to reports, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung.
New York Giants’ offensive tackle Nate Solder announced he was opting out in an emotional statement Wednesday, citing concerns for his own health and the health of his children.
Nagy said Goldman reached out via email first, and the two later talked about Goldman’s decision.
“What’s very important here to understand is, for us, we completely support him,” Nagy said. “I think that’s very important in everybody understanding that he knew that right away. We just told him we support him.”
Nagy said the two discussed the Bears' safety protocols at Halas Hall, which Pace described as “above and beyond” the league’s minimum requirements.
“We told him what we have here, so he knows, and that’s the decision that he decided to make,” Nagy said.
The move likely means bigger roles for defensive linemen Bilal Nichols and Roy Robertson-Harris. The Bears also signed John Jenkins, who has experience at nose tackle, over the offseason.
Goldman’s presence will be missed, though.
“He’s a really important part of our defense a really good young player for us,” Pace said. “But I think, this is when we talk about the depth that we’ve had built up, and especially on the defensive line when you talk about guys like Roy Roberston-Harris and Bilal [Nichols] and John Jenkins and Brent Urban. Then you factor in [defensive line coach] Jay Rodgers, who I think is just an outstanding coach. It gives us a lot of confidence with that position.”
The Bears officially placed Goldman on the Reserve/Opt-Out list Wednesday afternoon.
Reserve/COVID-19 list: Additionally, the Bears placed tight end Eric Saubert on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Rapoport. Rookie running back Artavis Pierce was also placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.
The Reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive. It does not necessarily mean the player contracted the virus.
Pace said Wednesday that the team will not be divulging any further information on players placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.