Bears Sign Knile Davis, Cut Kaleb Johnson

The Bears have signed free agent running back Knile Davis, as Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk reports. In a corresponding move, the team has released offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson, who was signed just last week.

In Chicago, Davis will reunite with Matt Nagy, the Bears’ new head coach who served as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach during Davis’ first three seasons in Kansas City (the Chiefs selected Davis, an Arkansas product, in the third round of the 2013 draft). The Chiefs elevated Nagy to offensive coordinator in 2016, and they traded Davis to the Packers for a conditional draft pick in October of that year. Green Bay released him just two weeks later, and Davis re-signed with Kansas City shortly thereafter.

Davis was reasonably effective during his first two years in the league, rushing for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns as a change-of-pace back. He also ran back a kickoff for a touchdown in 2013 and 2014, and even though his workload as a running back was dramatically reduced in 2015, he still returned 29 kicks.

However, he was released by the Steelers before the start of the 2017 campaign, and he was not picked up by any other club (though he did work out for the Jets last September). As Williams notes, if Davis is to crack Chicago’s roster, he will likely have to do so on the strength of his return ability. The Bears boast a fairly crowded backfield, headlined by Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, but Davis does appear to have a fan in Nagy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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2 comments on “Bears Sign Knile Davis, Cut Kaleb Johnson

  1. acarneglia

    Chicago is probably Davis’ best chance to make an NFL roster. Chicago is pretty set at RB though with Howard and Cohen and he’d probably be competing with Cohen for kick return opportunities.

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    • crosseyedlemon

      The problem of being a return guy for the Bears is that Devin Hester set the bar completely out of reach of everyone else.

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