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Write Now Blog

Hayes to lean on experience Sunday

Posted by Larry Mayer on December 7, 2012 – 12:02 pm

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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Bears defense ‘a great fit’ for Hayes

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 5, 2012 – 7:16 pm

When Geno Hayes signed a one-year contract with the Bears in April, the veteran linebacker knew that he’d be assigned a different jersey number than the one he wore with the Buccaneers.

But even though Hayes is no longer wearing No. 54—that number apparently was already taken by one of his new teammates—he feels comfortable in a Bears defense that’s similar to the system he was part of in Tampa.

“It’s a great fit,” Hayes said. “They’ve still got that old-school Tampa 2 kind of scheme and I love it.”

Hayes was selected by the Buccaneers in the sixth round of the 2008 draft out of Florida State. He appeared in 56 games with 42 starts in four seasons with Tampa Bay, recording 334 tackles, 36 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, four interceptions, 16 pass breakups, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

After playing in nine games primarily on special teams as a rookie, Hayes became the Buccaneers’ starting weakside linebacker in 2009, replacing 11-time Pro Bowler Derrick Brooks. Last season Hayes started 13 of 16 games played, registering 86 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.

A valuable backup, Hayes can play either outside linebacker position. With middle linebacker Brian Urlacher sidelined the past few days with knee soreness, Hayes has worked with the No. 1 defense at the strongside position in place of Nick Roach, who has slid inside to replace Urlacher.

“I’m here to help the team in any way, shape or form,” Hayes said. “If they want me to come in and play special teams, I’ll play special teams. If anybody goes down, I’d be the guy to step up and help out. I’m here to help the team any way.”


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