The Bears on Tuesday bolstered their offense by signing unrestricted free agent fullback Khari Blasingame to a one-year contract.
The 25-year-old has appeared in 32 NFL games with 13 starts over three seasons with the Titans. In Tennessee, Blasingame caught 10 passes for 97 yards, rushed for six yards on three carries and served as a lead blocker for star running back Derrick Henry.
In their first two seasons together, Henry led the NFL in rushing and rushing touchdowns with 1,540 yards and 16 TDs in 2019 and 2,027 yards and 17 TDs in 2020. When he sustained a season-ending injury in Week 8 last year, Henry was again leading the NFL with 937 yards and 10 TDs and was on pace to break the league's rushing record.
"We are excited about Khari and look forward to him contributing to our team's success," said Bears general manager Ryan Poles. "We would like to thank Nate Litwin from ProSet Athlete Advisors for helping bring him to Chicago."
Blasingame told ChicagoBears.com that he opted to sign with the Bears "because, one, they wanted me, and I felt like the opportunity that was in front of me, I was going to be able to come in and help a team win."
Asked what he'll bring to the Bears, Blasingame said: "They're getting a very smart player. They're getting a very physical player, and just a player who loves football, a player that's going to do the best that he can to help the team win."
The Bears have not had a true fullback on their roster since Michael Burton in 2018, but they aren't alone. With the proliferation of the passing game over the past decade, several other teams have also phased out the position.
"The fullback position in the league, everybody thinks it's a dying breed," Blasingame said. "But there's a lot of guys who are in the league doing a lot of good things for the teams that still use them."
Although he had only 13 touches in three seasons with the Titans, Blasingame enjoys contributing in other less glamorous aspects of the game that are often categorized as "dirty work."
"I definitely take pride in it, but I don't really see any work as dirty work," Blasingame said. "Work is work. It's a blessing to be in this league.
"I've been blessed with a skill set and blessed to be in a position to help a team win, so that's what I'm going to do and I'm going to be grateful for it. Every time you get to put on a helmet is a blessing. Outside of high school, nothing's guaranteed as far as playing ball. That's just kind of how I look at it."
“They’re getting a very smart player. They’re getting a very physical player, and just a player who loves football …” Fullback Khari Blasingame on joining the Bears
Blasingame entered the NFL with the Vikings in 2019 as an undrafted free agent from Vanderbilt. He spent the first two months of his rookie season on Minnesota's practice squad before being signed by the Titans.
Last year the 6-foot, 233-pounder appeared in 11 games with three starts.
Blasingame arrived at Vanderbilt as a safety in 2014, moved to linebacker as a redshirt freshman in 2015 and switched to running back in 2016, remaining at that position for his final three seasons.