Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson will return to the Bears for a seventh season after signing a one-year contract Sunday.
The 28-year-old has appeared in 77 career games since being selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2016 draft out of William & Mary. With the free-agent departure of punter Pat O'Donnell, Houston-Carson and 2016 second-round pick Cody Whitehair are now the longest tenured players on the Bears roster.
"I am excited," Houston-Carson told ChicagoBears.com. "My family and I love Chicago, and I really believe in [general manager] Ryan [Poles] and coach [Matt] Eberflus. So, I'm excited to be back and see where this thing can go."
Primarily a special teams contributor for most of his career, Houston-Carson took advantage of an expanded role on defense last season. Playing 419 defensive snaps before missing the final five games with a fractured forearm, he recorded 47 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups. At the time of his injury in a Week 14 game in Green Bay, he ranked fourth on the Bears in tackles.
On special teams, Houston-Carson registered four tackles and returned a Ray-Ray McCloud fumble that was caused by Caleb Johnson on a punt return 25 yards for a touchdown last Nov. 8 in Pittsburgh.
"Our entire staff is excited to get DeAndre back," Poles said. "On top of bringing tremendous value to special teams, he also has dependability on the back end. He is a great leader and our team will be better with him. We would like to thank Drew Smith at DEC Management for helping us re-sign him here in Chicago."
Houston-Carson first made key contributions on defense in 2020. Despite playing only 91 snaps, he produced late impact plays to secure wins in back-to-back games. First, he broke up Tom Brady's fourth-down pass with :33 remaining to clinch a 20-19 Thursday night victory over the Buccaneers at Soldier Field. Ten days later, Houston-Carson registered his first career interception when he picked off Teddy Bridgewater with 1:28 to play to seal a 23-16 win over the Panthers in Carolina.
In 2022, Houston-Carson intends to build on the success he's had on defense the past two seasons, saying: "I believe in my process, and I think that every year has allowed me to get better and I plan on continuing that this year."
The 6-foot, 202-pounder feels that he's improved as a defensive back across the board since he entered the NFL.
"[It's] everything; as far as knowledge of the game, understanding of my assignments, understanding of how other teams try to attack our defense," Houston-Carson said. "And then I just think my movement is better now, just six or seven more years of focusing on fundamentals of back-pedaling and tackling. But probably the biggest thing is just the knowledge of the game and having all those hours of watching film."