Bears say goodbye to offensive line mainstay Roberto Garza

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Bears center Roberto Garza participates in a drill at Halas Hall.

LAKE FOREST – In a football era of constant change and a franchise that has been in flux for the better part of four years, he was a mainstay.

Since 2005 Roberto Garza was a fixture on the Bears offensive line through changes in quarterbacks, lineman around him and coaches. Even a change in coaches (Lovie Smith to Marc Trestman) and general managers (Jerry Angelo to Phil Emery) didn’t change his solid spot on the offensive line.

But another such change in 2015 has changed that.

On Thursday Garza was released by the Bears after ten seasons which he was the starter for the majority of the games at the center position. In his place the Bears have signed former Broncos center Will Montgomery to a one-year contract.

“We have a great deal of respect for what Roberto has brought to the Bears over the last 10 years,”  said general manager Ryan Pace in a release through the team.  “He has been a great player, teammate and leader.  We wish Roberto and his family the very best as he continues his career.”

Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza hugs linebacker Brian Urlacher after Chicago's 39-14 win over the Saints in the AFC Championship in 2007.

Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza hugs linebacker Brian Urlacher after Chicago’s 39-14 win over the Saints in the AFC Championship in 2007.

Garza joined the Bears in 2005 after a three year stint with the Falcons, who drafted him out of Texas A&M Kingsville in 2001.

He would go onto start 145 of his 154 games with the Bears at the guard position. He was durable and in his final nine seasons with the Bears started every game. In 2006 he helped the Bears to the NFC Championship and their first appearance in the Super Bowl in 21 years.

Garza was a mainstay on the offensive line when the Bears won the 2010 NFC North championship and advances to the NFC Championship once again. He started every game for both Chicago and Atlanta from 2003-2010.

Bears center Roberto Garza appeared on the Spanish language version of EA Sports' Madden NFL 2009 video game.

Bears center Roberto Garza appeared on the Spanish language version of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2009 video game.

Garza was one of the more prominent Hispanic NFL players during his time with the Bears and was featured on the cover of EA Sports’ Spanish Language Madden NFL 2009 video game. To put it in perspective, in the Bears’ Super Bowl year of 2006 he was one of just 19 Hispanic players in the league of 1,700.

He also was known for his commitment to service in Chicago and was an active participant in the United Way. He’s was the Bears nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of they Year Award in 2006.

Montgomery is the person who at the moment has been brought into replace Garza after starting eight games and a playoff contest at center for the Broncos. A nine-year veteran of the NFL, Montgomery started every game for the Redskins at center from 2011-2013.

He also had stops with the Panthers and Jets.

 

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