Irving played only 116 defensive snaps across 13 games with the Bears last season, logging eight tackles during that time. The third-year linebacker will serve as a backup to All-Pro Khalil Mack (knee) in 2019.
Irving had eight tackles (seven solo) and one sack in 13 games during 2018.
Irving was expected to play a key role at outside linebacker for the Bears this season, but the addition of All-Pro Khalil Mack in September undoubtedly was a factor in his reduced role. The 24-year-old didn't play a defensive snap until Week 8. Irving is an exclusive rights free agent, giving the Bears the means to keep him in Chicago through next season should they want him to return.
Irving is expected to compete for a key role in the Bears' outside linebacker rotation, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. "We feel he can make a push," said Bears linebacker coach Brandon Staley. "We really felt before he got hurt at the end of last year that he was making a push. We like a lot of the things that he brings to the table -- he can rush, he is outstanding in the run game, heavy-handed, (and) he can move his feet really well in pass coverage."
Irving was slowly but surely carving out a significant role in the Bears defense last season before a knee injury planted him on injured reserve in early December. Now healthy, the second-year linebacker has reportedly added 20 pounds of muscle this offseason and apparently was turning heads in spring workouts. Behind starters Leonard Floyd and Sam Acho, offseason addition Aaron Lynch is the only OLB that's been working ahead of Irving.
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