Chicago Bears sign linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, waive rookie Hendrick Ekpe

By Alex Butler  |  Aug. 18, 2017 at 1:41 PM
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Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Free agent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard is now a member of the Chicago Bears.

Chicago announced the signing on Friday. The Bears waived rookie linebacker Hendrick Ekpe in a corresponding transaction. Sheppard, 29, worked out for the Miami Dolphins earlier this week but left South Florida without a new contract. Miami also worked out former Cincinnati Bengals defender Rey Maualuga. The 6-foot-2, 249-pound Sheppard is entering his seventh NFL season.

The LSU product was a third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2011 NFL Draft. Sheppard spent two seasons in Buffalo before joining the Indianapolis Colts in 2013. He followed that up with a two-year stint with the Dolphins before landing with the New York Giants last season. Sheppard had 50 tackles last season for the Giants. He started 11 games in 2016. Sheppard had his best season in 2015, when he had 105 tackles as the Dolphins' starting inside linebacker. For his career, Sheppard has 375 tackles and three sacks in 93 games. He has 57 career starts.

Ekpe joined the Bears on May 11. The Minnesota product was an undrafted free agent.

Chicago will use Sheppard for depth in its linebacking corps, which includes Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Jonathan Anderson, Christian Jones, Pernell McPhee, Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston, John Timu, Sam Acho and Dan Skuta. Skuta joined the squad as a free agent signing in May, while Jones signed in March. Young and McPhee had offseason knee surgery. Trevathan is recovering from a torn patellar tendon.

The Bears face the Arizona Cardinals at 10 p.m. Saturday in their second preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

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