Center Roberto Garza | AP
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The Bears re-signed center Roberto Garza to a one-year deal, keeping the NFL’s second-best offense intact for the second-straight year.
The 34-year-old center, who was set to become a free agent March 11, will make a reported $1.5 million.
Both the team and Garza, who spent the last nine years with the Bears, had expressed a mutual desire to stay together. The Bears’ backup center, Taylor Boggs, has only appeared in one NFL game.
“I’m excited to keep playing and playing for a great franchise and a great city,” Garza said in a release. “Everybody knows that I wanted to stay here. With the guys that I’m playing with, everything is coming together. I feel it’s a great opportunity to build on what we started last year.
“Everybody’s coming back and we’re going to be in the same system for the second year. We did some good things last year, but there’s a lot of stuff we have to build on and correct and do better. It’s going to be fun to watch the film from last year and get better at things that are going to make us a better football team.”
Garza was a captain the last two years.
“He is as hard-working a player as we have and an unselfish leader,” coach Marc Trestman said. “He is tremendously important in our preparation by quarterbacking the offensive line both in run and pass protection. He anchors everything we do up front and we’re thrilled to have him back.”
The unit last season was second in the NFL with a scoring average of 27.8 points.
“When you’re around Roberto on a day-to-day basis, you realize he’s a better person and leader than he is a player and we think he’s a very good player,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “It was important for us to get him back. We’re excited to have him back. He’s a veteran presence in the [offensive line] room. He probably had his best year last year so we think he’s on the upswing even though he has a lot of years under his belt. We think he can be very productive for us again this upcoming year.”
Garza was rated the 12th-best center in the NFL last year by Pro Football Focus. More, telling, though, was the support he gave the newcomers on either side of him. Left guard Matt Slauson was rated PFF’s sixth-best guard, while rookie right guard Kyle Long was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate, making the squad because of injury.
The Bears have re-signed six players since the end of the season: quarterback Jay Cutler, cornerback Tim Jennings, Slauson, Boggs, safety Derrick Martin and Garza. The team signed kicker Robbie Gould and fullback Tony Fiammetta to new deals the last week of the 2012 season.