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Bears Cite Assistants' Belief In Ray McDonald, Ownership's Research For Confidence In Controversial Signing

(CBS) Shortly after news broke that the Bears signed defensive lineman Ray McDonald on Tuesday afternoon, general manager Ryan Pace met with a small group of reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix to explain the rationale for adding a player who has been in the center of two ugly incidents in the past eight months.

Last August, McDonald was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, but no charges were filed after there was a lack of evidence.

Then in December, McDonald was accused of sexual assault in San Jose, Calif. No charges have been filed in a case that's still open, but the 49ers released McDonald amid the controversy, saying he had a habit of "poor decision-making."

On Tuesday, Pace explained that Bears ownership and management was confident in the 30-year-old McDonald in large part because of a face-to-face meeting with him and because defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell vouched for the player. Both coached McDonald in San Francisco previously.

"Some of the obvious things right off the bat is that we have coaches who have been with Ray for four years in Vic and Ed," Pace said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "So I think that really helped us through this process. We've talked about it for a long time now. So this was a thorough and well-discussed decision."

Pace added the Bears are "comfortable" with where McDonald's open legal case sits, the Tribune reported.

Bears chairman George McCaskey also had a conversation with McDonald's parents that helped the cause.

Pace also cited McDonald -- a well-compensated professional athlete -- buying his own plane ticket to Chicago as representing himself well.

Click below to listen to Boers and Bernstein explain why they remain puzzled by the signing of McDonald.

Boers and Bernstein on the Ray McDonald signing

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