(CBS) Cornerback Tim Jennings wasn’t surprised by his release from the Bears on Sunday and emphasized that he relishes his four-plus years in Chicago.
“It wasn’t a shock at all,” Jennings said in an interview on the Mully and Hanley Show on Monday morning. “I mean, we saw the moves they were making in the offseason, with the whole GM, coaching staff bringing in depth at cornerback. The writing was kind of on the wall.”
A Pro Bowler in 2012 and 2013, the 31-year-old Jennings recognized the reality of the new situation in Chicago, pointing out the former general manager Phil Emery — not first-year GM Ryan Pace — was the one who paid him big money.
In January 2014, Jennings signed a four-year deal worth up to $22.4 million that included $11.8 million guaranteed, per reports.
“Everything has been changed from top to bottom, from the GM to the head coach to the defensive coordinator,” Jennings said. “It was going in a whole different direction. They do want to get younger. They want a different look out there — the whole defense is different.”
Jennings never heard anything about the Bears pursuing a trade of him, he said. Jennings believed his release was a collective move between the front office and coaching staff. He thought the Bears’ shift to a more man-based defensive scheme instead of zone scheme played a role in how he didn’t fit in as well as before.
“The earlier, the better,” Jennings said of his exit. “It gives teams an opportunity to figure out the depth chart and find the best fit for me.
“There have been some ups and downs … but I have played my best football here.”
Jennings had high praise for the Bears despite his release.
“Everything’s going to work out just fine in Chicago,” Jennings said. “The city has a lot to be excited for, and I think Fox is going to be able to turn things around in the next few years.”
Jennings said he’ll “look at all types of options” for where he’ll play next.
Listen to Jennings’ full interview below.