While the NFL is primarily an American sports league, it has begun to filter in many young athletes from around the world. Eastern Europe has become a small hotbed for such talents in recent years. Now one such player has joined the Chicago Bears. Most people might have a recollection of the name Margus Hunt. A native of Estonia, he was never meant to play football. He was a track and field guy. However, when SMU dropped their men’s track upon his arrival, he had a tough decision to make. Eventually, he was convinced to give football a shot.
It didn’t take long to realize the 6’8 kid had a natural gift for the sport. As he continued to add weight and muscle, he became more and more dominant as a defensive lineman. Before anybody knew it, he was drafted in the 2nd round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013. While he never became a full-time starter there, he was a decent contributor. It wasn’t until he left for Indianapolis in 2017 that his career blossomed.
Over the next two seasons, Hunt became a force against the run.
He was credited with 45 run stops by Pro Football Focus including 19 tackles for a loss. The only regret people have was the timing. By that point, Hunt was already entering his 30s. He hadn’t been drafted until he was 26-years old. There is no telling how much better he could’ve been had he gotten into football sooner. After leaving Indianapolis in 2020, he bounced between New Orleans and a second stint in Cincinnati with forgettable results.
Now after a failed attempt to crack the Arizona Cardinals roster during training camp, the 34-year old found himself on the Bears’ practice squad. With Eddie Goldman still ailing from a knee injury, the veteran was called up to join the team for Sunday’s home opener. Against his old team the Bengals. Football has quite a sense of humor, doesn’t it?
We have placed Larry Borom on IR & flexed Margus Hunt & Alex Taylor from the practice squad to the active roster.https://t.co/oPYydNDy0N
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 18, 2021
First career INT for @AkeemDavis16 with a little help from Margus Hunt. 😤
WATCH on CBS pic.twitter.com/0WRHo8A0ON
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 3, 2021
👀 Margus Hunt (1 tec #76). 2 for 1, bench presses RG into the FB. pic.twitter.com/F2ttLc6IsO
— Josh Cohen (@JCohen_NFL) August 24, 2021
Chicago Bears have a clear agenda with Hunt
They need his help to stop the run on Sunday. The Bengals may have a lot of popular names in their passing game, but this is a team that goes through running back Joe Mixon. He rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown in their opening day win over the Minnesota Vikings. When he goes, they go. So stopping him has to be a priority for the Bears. Something that becomes more challenging without Goldman.
This is where somebody like Hunt can be so valuable. Not only does he have great size at 6’8, 300 lbs but he’s a proven run defender who has faced this offensive line many times in practice last year. So there is an element of logic to what the Chicago Bears coaches are doing despite his obvious inexperience in their system.
One thing is for sure.
The defense badly needs a rebound game. They were pantsed in a big way by the Rams last week. They can’t afford to look outmatched by Cincinnati or people will stop taking them seriously as a top defense in the NFL. Hunt may not play a major role in that effort, but he should still be a nice help.