The Chicago Bears signed center Roberto Garza to a one-year contract.
The 6-2, 310-pound Garza started all 16 games at center for the Bears record-breaking offense in 2013. Garza was a part of an offensive line that allowed just 30 sacks last season, tied for fourth fewest in the NFL, and helped pave way for Pro Bowl RB Matt Fortè's career-high 1,339 rushing yards, which ranks ninth-most in franchise history and more than any Bears player other than Hall of Famer Walter Payton. All five starters along the 2013 Bears offensive line are now under contract for the 2014 season.
"I'm excited to keep playing and playing for a great franchise and a great city," Garza said. "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."
The two-time team captain (2012 & '13) was a part of Bears offense that set a franchise record for total net yards (6,109), gross passing yards (4,450), net passing yards (4,281), passer rating (96.9), completion percentage (64.4), total first downs (344) and passing first downs (215), while finishing second in franchise annals in total points (445) last season. Chicago's 45 offensive touchdowns in 2013 were fifth most in franchise history and most in the Super Bowl era.
"Roberto is an outstanding player and person," head coach Marc Trestman said. "He is as hard-working a player as we have and an unselfish leader. 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."
Carrying 13 years of NFL experience with Atlanta (2001-04) and Chicago (2005-13), Garza has started 164-of-194 games played in his career, including appearing in all 16 contests during 10 seasons (2001, ‘04-09 and '11-13). He has made starts at each of the interior lineman spots, while helping pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in seven of the last 10 campaigns, including six with Chicago. Garza started both guard positions for the Bears from 2005-10 before taking over the center position in 2011 where he has anchored the line for 48-straight contests.
"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."