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Montez Sweat grateful, blessed to join Bears

Montez Sweat was walking to the practice field with his Commanders teammates Tuesday when he found out he was being traded to the Bears.

A whirlwind 24 hours later, the veteran defensive end arrived at Halas Hall after passing his physical and addressed the Chicago media.

"I'm grateful, blessed, happy to be here," said Sweat, who hopes to play Sunday when the Bears visit the New Orleans Saints. "I'm just happy to be here and ready to get to work."

Asked to describe himself as a player, the 6-6, 262-pounder said: "I think I'm a very strong, hard-working, tenacious player who just really wants to get better every day. I know I've still got a long way to go, but I'm happy to be the player I am."

The Bears are just as happy to add Sweat. The 27-year-old led the Commanders with 6.5 sacks through eight games this season. He's also one of six NFL players to record at least five sacks and 10 quarterback hits in each of the last five seasons, joining Brian Burns, Maxx Crosby, Chris Jones, Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt.

Sweat is more than just a pass rusher, however. He's also excelled against the run since being selected by Washington with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2019 draft out of Mississippi State.

"We expect him to come here and help our entire team get better," said general manager Ryan Poles. "We see him as a long, fast, explosive, relentless defensive end that can help us both in the run and in the pass game, and really, I see him as a multiplier. He's going to allow everyone to play better; our entire defensive front, our corners, our safeties."

Poles was motivated to acquire a player of Sweat's caliber before the trade deadline rather than waiting until free agency in March.

"It's capitalizing right now because you start to lose opportunities," Poles said. "If you look at the free agent stack now, it's going to look very different by the time you get to that point of the year because there are so many different opportunities that can pop up in terms of extensions, tags, different things like that. So we decided with that type of player, we wanted to capitalize on that now."

Poles added that Sweat likely would have been traded to another team Tuesday if the Bears didn't make such a strong offer.

Sweat arrives in Chicago in the final year of his rookie contract. In terms of an extension, Poles told reporters that he's "really confident that we can get a deal done," adding: "It's hard to put a timeline on it, but I'm hoping it won't take too long."

Sweat is letting his agents work on a potential new contract while he focuses on assimilating to his new team.

"I'm sure my agents are talking about it," he said. "My agents and them are talking about something. But I'm not really in any of it right now. I'm just ready to get to work.

"Obviously, a player always wants to have security playing the sport that we're playing, but I mean I'm sure everything will work itself out."

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