Melton departs Bears to reunite with Marinelli in Dallas

Melton departs Bears to reunite with Marinelli in Dallas
March 18, 2014, 7:45 pm
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Scott Krinch

Henry Melton has officially closed the door on his five-year career with Bears.

The 27-year-old Melton will reunite with his former defensive coordinator with the Bears, Rod Marinelli, who serves in the same role with the Dallas Cowboys.

[MORE: Bears staying busy as free agency continues]

Melton was highly sought after on the free agent market. He visited with the Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams since free agency began. His departure seemed imminent earlier Tuesday afternoon when the Bears brought back defensive lineman Israel Idonije on a one-year deal.

It was a disappointing year for Melton in 2013 after tearing his ACL three games into the season. The Bears placed the franchise tag on Melton, worth $8.45 million, after his Pro Bowl year in 2012, but were never able to lock him up to a long-term contract.

The Bears originally drafted Melton in the fourth-round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of the University of Texas. In five seasons with Chicago, he registered 15.5 sacks and 66 tackles.

Currently, the Bears have just three defensive tackles on the roster in Jeremiah Ratliff, Stephen Paea and Nate Collins.