The excitement of a 3-0 start by the Chicago Bears was tempered today with the news that defensive tackle Henry Melton tore his ACL and is out for the rest of the season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report the news.
Melton earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last season after emerging as one of the top pass-rushing defensive tackles in the game. Over the last two years, he has 13.0 sacks, which is second most behind only Julius Peppers. His presence along the interior of the defensive line will be sorely missed.
Nate Collins will take over as the starter at defensive tackle, with Stephen Paea likely moving from nose tackle to 3-technique. Both players can play either position. Zach Minter, an undrafted free agent who has been inactive the first three weeks, will also have his role expanded significantly.
In addition, expect the Bears to sign a veteran free agent this week to add to the defensive line rotation. Chicago’s coaching staff also has the option of sliding Corey Wootton or Julius Peppers inside on passing down to replace Melton’s in nickel sets.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.