“We like Shea,” Pace said. “We feel that his arrow is still pointing up, especially at the inside linebacker position. I thought our defensive coaches did a great job with him, and that’s a decision we’re going to have to make.”
McClellin’s career kind of sums up the job that Phil Emery did as general manager of the Bears for three years before Pace took over. McClellin was Emery’s first-ever draft pick with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. After struggling as an undersized defensive end, the Bears moved McClellin to outside linebacker, where he continued to struggle.
It was not until Pace and head coach John Fox took over the team when they moved him to inside linebacker and made him the signal caller and on-field leader of the defense.
While McClellin seemed more comfortable at inside linebacker, he was far from the ideal player at the position. The Bears could bring him back at a discount because the demand for him on the open market will likely be limited.