New Bears S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, signed Thursday to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, confirmed on a teleconference Friday that he turned down more lucrative offers for a better chance to win a Super Bowl in 2019.
"I was getting other calls from other teams who wanted to sign me — and the money was more," said Clinton-Dix, the 26-year-old former Packers first-rounder who'll replace Adrian Amos in the starting lineup following Amos signing in Green Bay.
"You see some of the guys get to the end of their careers and now they’re trying to chase rings. I have the opportunity to do that in my prime. If you ask me, Chicago was an Eddie Jackson away from winning a Super Bowl last year. Any way I can come onto this team, contribute and make plays and get my name back out there, I’m excited about that."
Jackson, Clinton-Dix's former Alabama teammate who missed the Bears' wild-card defeat with an ankle injury following his six-interception All-Pro regular season, clearly played a big role in recruiting his friend. Clinton-Dix explained that the two talked weekly during the season last year, and he saw Jackson on Thursday, when the All Pro was working out at the facility while Clinton-Dix was putting pen to paper on his new contract.
That recruitment was a role reversal from their days together in Tuscaloosa, where Clinton-Dix hosted Jackson on his official visit and took it upon himself to ensure Alabama landed him.
"One of [Alabama head coach Nick] Saban's guys," he said. "Saban treated him like his son and loved him to death. Once Saban felt that way, I knew I had to get him on the squad."
Jackson and Clinton-Dix are both technically considered free safeties because of their range and ball skills, but Clinton-Dix expressed confidence in their abilities to pair well together in a scheme that'll undergo minor tinkering as new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano takes over for Vic Fangio, now the Denver Broncos head coach.
Bears GM Ryan Pace said at the combine earlier this month that the scheme calls for interchangeable players along the last line of defense.
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"We’re very similar players, but that makes it tough on quarterbacks," Clinton-Dix said. "We can both play left or right — and it’s gonna be fun."
Clinton-Dix echoed the sentiments of his fellow newcomers on Thursday, raving about the culture Matt Nagy is building and the contagious enthusiasm and fun emanating from the organization on the heels of its 12-4 season and regular #clubdub celebrations.
"Just the togetherness. It’s a young team," he said. "Guys are having fun. Guys have energy. Guys enjoy coming to work. That’s something special, and you can see that."
He also raved about the "rare" number of "alpha dogs" on the NFL's No. 1 scoring 'D' a year ago, reiterating his view that it's the perfect spot for a player who joins his third team in less than six months, to start anew.
"Prove that I’m one of the best, man, and go out and win a championship," Clinton-Dix said of his ultimate goal in signing with the Bears. "I think that’s the perfect opportunity coming into something great that coach Nagy has created there in Chicago, and I’m excited about my opportunity."