Matt Pryor and Coleman Shelton talk signing with Bears

Matt Pryor and Coleman Shelton talk signing with Bears

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - For a team that has surrendered 108 sacks over the past two years, revamping the offensive line was a top priority in free agency and continues to be going into the draft. But, they have made good progress toward improvement with their trade for guard Ryan Bates, as well as signing guard Matt Pryor and center Coleman Shelton.

Pryor has gotten minimal starting time throughout his career, including starting five games with the Indianapolis Colts back in 2021 during Matt Eberflus’ last season as the defensive coordinator for the Colts.

“Flus was different,” Pryor said. “He puts that work ethic into everybody, chasing the ball down the field in practice and trying to build that chemistry not just across the defense but the whole team because at the end of the day, we might play on different sides of the ball, but it takes a whole team to win, and that’s what I love about the chemistry and what he’s trying to do with the Bears organization.”

The biggest asset Pryor brings to Chicago is his versatility.

Throughout his NFL career, he has played left tackle, left guard, and right guard. Given the issues the Bears have had with the offensive line, getting a lineman who can play multiple positions if necessary is a huge bonus.

“I take pride in being able to play across the line, done it throughout my career. Obviously, everybody wants to settle into one position,” Pryor said. “But, the best ability is availability. I’m not against it, but whatever opportunity I get to get out there, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Center Coleman Shelton has a bit more experience, starting 30 games in the past two years. Since offensive lineman Cody Whitehair no longer with the Bears, Shelton fills a much-needed gap for veteran experience.

“I think just being a veteran, being an older guy helps,” Shelton said. “Going into my seventh season, been around a similar offense and had my fair share of time from everybody looking at me on the practice squad to being a backup to working all the way up to a starter these past couple of years. So, I feel like I have experience and I’ve been around a little bit.”

Another benefit with Shelton is he is familiar with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s coaching from Waldron’s time with the Los Angeles Rams. Thus, he knows the system and knows the system he is bringing to the Bears. Therefore, he can also serve as someone who helps the rest of the line and the team learn the system faster.

“I worked with Shane in (2019) and (2020) when he was in LA, and he comes from that tree of offenses. I feel like I fit that scheme well, and I just go out, play hard, and compete,” Shelton said. “That’s all we can do.”

As a starter for the past two seasons, he now faces competition with Bates for the starting center position. Some players would be intimidated by this, but Shelton embraces everything as competition because you always need to prove yourself.

“To me, it’s always a competition,” Shelton said. “So, you always have to prove yourself when you go out there every day, and I’m just going to do the best of my ability to go out there and compete.”

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