Special teams hurt the Bears last season, and general manager Phil Emery Thursday brought in his fourth player through free agency who should be able to help.
Domenik Hixon was a key contributor in that phase on the New York Giants' two recent Super Bowl teams, and after spending last season with NFC South champion Carolina, signed a one-year deal with the Bears. He joins Ryan Mundy, Jordan Senn, and M.D. Jennings as potential key contributors to Joe DeCamillis' units. Hixon did a great job returning kicks for the Giants in those playoff runs, but that role has diminished in recent seasons, including last year with the Panthers, who had Ted Ginn, Jr.
[ROTOWORLD: Get the low-down on Domenik Hixon]
Hixon had a limited role offensively for Carolina last season (seven receptions, 55 yards), but his lone touchdown catch won their game in the final minute against New Orleans to clinch the division. Earlier in the day, the Panthers officially released five-time Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith.
Hixon is 29 years old and the University of Akron product was a fourth-round draft pick of Denver in 2006, the same year the Broncos selected Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. He was eventually cut in 2007 and immediately scooped up by the New York Giants, where he remained until a year ago.