Jason Campbell, Michael Bush and Kelvin Hayden weren’t the only backups the Bears signed in free agency this year who had started for other NFL teams.
Another was Geno Hayes, who will draw upon the experience he gained the past four seasons with the Buccaneers when he makes his first start of the season Sunday in Minnesota.
Hayes, who made 42 starts for Tampa Bay, joins the No. 1 defense at strongside linebacker in place of Nick Roach, who moves to middle linebacker in place of the injured Brian Urlacher.
“This is not my first time around; this is not my first rodeo,” Hayes said. “It’s a great opportunity. Any time you get the opportunity to step on the field and make plays, it’s big.”
Hayes became the Buccaneers’ starting weakside linebacker in his second NFL season in 2009, replacing 11-time Pro Bowler Derrick Brooks. Last season Hayes started 13 of 16 games played for Tampa Bay, recording 86 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.
Hayes, who signed a one-year contract with the Bears, isn’t looking at his chance to play as an audition for a new deal next season.
“I try to not think about those things,” Hayes said. “I just want to go out there and play ball. Contract stuff is for after the season. Right now I have to go out and do my job.”
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