Jimmy Clausen planning to visit Notre Dame during the byeContinue reading.
Bears sign former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen to 1-year contract
The Bears will audition four quarterbacks for Jay Cutler’s backup spot over the next two weeks, if not longer.
The latest addition is the most familiar face — former Notre Dame star Jimmy Clausen signed a one-year deal with the team Thursday.
“Excited to start a new chapter with the @ChicagoBears!” Clausen wrote on Twitter. “Blessed to have this opportunity and looking forward to getting started!”
The former second-round draft pick has a superior pedigree to the Bears’ other three candidates hoping to protect the team’s most high-priced asset.
The 2010 second-round draft pick was selected higher than Jordan Palmer, Jerrod Johnson and rookie David Fales.
Clausen has 10 career starts; the other three have combined for zero.
The 6-2, 210-pounder has 1,558 career passing yards — or 1,499 more than his three competitors.
But Clausen and the Bears’ other three backups do share one thing in common — none has thrown a regular-season pass in the last three seasons.
Before the draft, Marc Trestman said the team would “examine all possibilities,” which resulted in selecting Fales and, Thursday, signing the Westlake Village, Calif., native.
Last month, general manager Phil Emery said he was “absolutely” comfortable with Palmer as the team’s No. 2 quarterback. The team, however, has stressed competition at all positions.
After passing for 3,722 yards his junior year at Notre Dame, Clausen entered the 2010 NFL draft and was picked No. 48 overall by the Panthers.
He started 10 games and appeared in three more as a rookie, completing 52.5 percent of his 299 attempts for three touchdowns and nine interceptions.
The Panthers went 2-14 and drafted Cam Newton No. 1 overall the next year. He’s started 16 games three years in a row.
Clausen never threw another regular-season pass.
He spent last season on injured reserve — he was waived, but went unclaimed — after tearing the labrum in his throwing shoulder the last week of the preseason. Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on him in September.
The final season of his four-year rookie deal expired in March, making the 26-year-old a free agent while rehabbing the injury he said in April was at 95 percent strength.
While the Bears won’t have much time with Clausen — four days of organized team activities and three days of minicamp — before traveling to Bourbonnais in July, head coach Marc Trestman is already familiar with his work.
Trestman tutored Clausen as he prepared for the 2010 draft, even running his pro day — in which the quarterback completed 57-of-59 passes — at Notre Dame.
In his book, Trestman said he was “blessed” to work with both Clausen and Florida star Tim Tebow, who “I’m sure are headed for future NFL stardom.”
To make room for Clausen, the Bears waived linebacker Lawrence Wilson, who spent last preseason with the club before rejoining its practice squad for the last seven weeks of the season.
Though the Bears figure to keep five quarterbacks on the roster through minicamp, the same might not be true for training camp, which starts July 24.