Bears free-agent acquisition Aaron Lynch hopes that a reunion with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will help revitalize the outside linebacker's once promising career.
Lynch excelled as a 49ers rookie in 2014 when Fangio was in his final year as San Francisco's defensive coordinator, recording six sacks while playing in all 16 games.
Lynch had another productive year in 2015 with 6.5 sacks, but his career has since taken a detour. He was suspended for the first four games in 2016 for violating the NFL policy on substance abuse and was a healthy scratch late last year after missing games with a calf injury.
"It was a perfect position for me to be in, it was an important position for me to be with somebody familiar like Vic," Lynch said Friday during a conference call with Chicago reporters. "He's the one that gave me a chance early in my career and I did pretty well, succeeded pretty well. To rejuvenate my career and play on this team is going to be fun."
Lynch signed a one-year contract with the Bears Thursday night and is eager to play not only for Fangio but for general manager Ryan Pace and first-year head coach Matt Nagy.
Take a look at new Bears LB Aaron Lynch in action. Lynch has 64 sacks over his four-year career with San Francisco.
"I've had some ups and downs the last two years, so I want to get back on the right track," Lynch said. "And there's no better place to start this out than with the Chicago Bears, with Nagy and Pace and Vic's defense."
Lynch enjoyed playing for Fangio, who is widely considered one of the NFL's most highly respected defensive coordinators.
"He was a huge part of my rookie year," Lynch said. "He was a great mentor to me. He was a great figure in my life. He was huge for me. Vic knows what he's doing on defense, so he puts you in the right positions at the right time.
"You go out there and you play every down for your team and your coaches and Vic has that type of respect, that type of vibe, where you want to go out there and do your best because you're going to get the best from your coach."
Asked about what he'll bring to the Bears, Lynch described himself as "a person who loves to compete."
"I see myself as a pretty good pass-rusher that can stop the run, and I know this defense because I've played in it," he said. "I'm bringing someone who has the background to be in this defense. I know what I'm doing."
Lynch missed four games last year with a calf injury. But he was also a healthy scratch for a handful of contests late in the season, which has left a huge chip on his shoulder.
"It definitely motivates me and I'm ready to get back at it and play some football," Lynch said. "Not being able to play the game that you love and played for your whole time growing up … it really humbled me and made me attack things differently now.
"I was pretty down and out with what was going on as far as not playing as much and whatnot. Who wouldn't be? Anybody who wants to play football is not going to be feeling too up. I was just down and out a little bit. I was frustrated. But that's why I moved on and found a great spot with the Chicago Bears and I'm happy to start it off right."