Ex-Bears safety Major Wright hitting reset in Tampa
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter August 11, 2014 9:06PM
Updated: August 11, 2014 11:21PM
TAMPA, Fla. — Major Wright was on vacation in Costa Rica when general manager Phil Emery called to say the Bears wouldn’t re-sign him.
‘‘It didn’t ruin it,’’ Wright said. ‘‘But it made me feel some type of way. Four years there.’’
Both Wright and the Bears had reason to be frustrated. Last season, he was ranked last among NFL safeties by Pro Football Focus.
Wright, who in April signed a one-year, $795,000 deal to play for former Bears coach Lovie Smith’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said last year’s Bears scheme was ‘‘not quite the way Lovie had it ran.’’ The Bears allowed the second-most points and third-most yards per game.
‘‘I think he’s motivated that he probably didn’t get enough attention in the free-agency market,’’ said Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner, who befriended Wright before they were drafted. ‘‘When you had guys like [safeties] T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner, Antoine Bethea and some of these guys get these big contracts and go places ...
‘‘I think he’s going to play with a chip on his shoulder because I know he feels he’s as good or better than those guys. And I know that he’s as good as those guys, too.’’
Wright called Bears safety Chris Conte ‘‘my homie,’’ and the feeling is mutual.
‘‘I love Major — it’s a little different without him there,’’ Conte said. ‘‘It’s football. We’re making all the same calls.’’
Conte added it was fun to play alongside five-time Pro Bowl player Adrian Wilson, who’s in the Bears’ wide-open battle at both safety spots.
Wright played 35 snaps ‘‘pretty well” in the preseason opener at Jacksonville, Smith said, though he dropped an interception.
‘‘That’s a scolding,’’ Smith said. ‘‘He knows how we do things. Very pleased with him.’’