Falcons wide receiver/returner Eric Weems has agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears on a three-year contract on Wednesday.
He will be re-united with Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery, who scouted Weems coming out of Bethune Cookman when he was the Falcons’ director of college scouting.
“He definitely has some familiarity with Eric,’ said Joseph Christopher Martin, Weem’s agent. ”They know he’s a tough player that can come and help them right away, both on the field and on special teams. He’s done work every time that he’s played against the Bears. I know their special teams coach loves him. It’s a great spot for him to focus on getting back to the Pro Bowl.”
Zach Klein of WSB TV orginally reported the signing with an unamed source.
Weems played last season after signing a one-year tender worth $1.8 million in July.
He returned punts and kickoffs for the last three seasons and was one of the top special teams tacklers. He was important to the offense getting good field position.
He averaged 25.3 yards on kickoff returns in 2009, 27.5 in 2010 and 23.5 last season. In 2010, he had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Tampa Bay that helped rally the team to victory. He also had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown that season.
He has played in 55 games and made six career starts. He’s caught 24 passes for 205 yards.
“He’ll get more at-bats at wide receiver and in the slot than he did with Atlanta,” Martin said. “Now, he’s got Brandon Marshall outside who can stretch the field and you’ve got Devin (Hester) who is explosive. Then you bring in a guy like Eric, who’s a natural slot guy. He has good feel and instincts and can run away from linebackers. That will allow him to really step up and develop as a No. 4 or possibly a No. 3 receiver.”
Weems went to the Pro Bowl in 2010 as the special teams player.
Weems was originally signed by the Falcons as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 1, 2007.
He was signed to the practice squad following the 2007 training camp and was elevated to the 53-man roster for the final regular season game. He was waived by the Falcons at the end of the 2008 training camp on August 30 and signed to the practice squad the following day. He was signed to the active roster on November 19, 2008.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog