By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) The Bears announced Friday afternoon that they’ve signed center Roberto Garza to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.READ MORE: Chicago Police Union President Urges Aldermen To Repeal Mayor's Vaccine Mandate For City Workers, Judge Denies Request To Extend Gag Order
The 35-year-old Garza will return for his 15th NFL season overall and 11th with the Bears.
Garza injured his ankle in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, which shelved him for four weeks. It was during his time off when Garza realized he wasn’t ready to hang up his cleats.
Garza has played in 11 of Chicago’s 15 games this season.
“When I got hurt,” Garza said, “those four weeks, watching the team practice, it was tough to sit on the sidelines and right there I knew that I wanted to keep going. When I don’t enjoy doing the week-in and week-out thing, then it’s going to be time to retire.”
Garza credited a change to his workout routine as a big factor in getting himself into what he considers the best physical shape of his career, certainly from a strength standpoint.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Most Locations To Remain Dry Overnight
“I met some people this offseason,” Garza said. “Donnie Thompson and trained with Olin (Kreutz), Taylor Boggs and (James) Big Cat (Williams) and training with the guys here, I’ve been able to find some different ways of working out to keep myself healthy, keep myself strong and go out there and continue to do my job to the best of my ability.”
On top of feeling physically capable of playing another season, Garza simply isn’t ready to step away from his true passion.
“From the moment I was 13 years old to the moment now,” Garza said, “before you step on the field, the adrenaline rush, the emotions you feel inside you, that’s the reason you play the game. To go out there and battle. Go out there and try to fight a 350-pound nose guard with your buddies, there’s nothing like it.”
His “buddies” primarily consist of the four other brutes who Garza lines up next to on game day and whom he spends most of his time with both on and off the field.
“Being a part of the offensive line group that we have here, Kyle (Long) and (Matt) Slauson and Millsy (Jordan Mills) and Bush (Jermon Bushrod) and Eben (Britton) and Taylor (Boggs) is a big part of the reason I want to keep going,” Garza said. “I love playing with those guys — and obviously the rest of my teammates — but I spend a lot of time with the offensive line. So those guys, it’s fun to try to go out there and battle every week.”MORE NEWS: Illinois State University Student Jelani Day's Death Ruled A Drowning
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.