The Chicago Bears released defensive lineman Ray McDonald after he was arrested early Monday morning in Northern California on domestic violence and child endangerment charges.
With the Bears moving to a “3-4” defense, McDonald was to be the team’s marquee defensive end, but all that changed Monday with his third arrest in nine months.
“We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear,” General Manager Ryan Pace said in a statement. “He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him.”
“It is very embarrassing,” said Lester Munson, ESPN Sr. writer/legal analyst. “It’s particularly embarrassing because we have a new regime, Ryan Pace now in charge, a new coach.”
The 30-year-old McDonald was arrested after police in Santa Clara, California, said he assaulted a woman who was holding a baby at his apartment around 3:45 a.m. Monday.
“Officers tried to locate Mr. McDonald, but he wasn’t there. He had fled,” said Lt. Kurt Clarke/Santa Clara Police Department.
He was arrested later at the home of a former San Francisco 49er teammate.
It is McDonald’s third run-with police in nine months. Last August he was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence and in December he was arrested for an alleged sexual assault.
No charges were filed in either case, but the 49ers cut him. The Bears signed McDonald to a one-year contract in late March knowing it was a gamble given his history of legal issues.
Last month, McDonald defended his past.
“People can put out stuff that is not very credible, and it can assassinate someone’s character by doing that,” he said on April 28.
Bears Chairman George McCaskey initially vetoed Pace’s decision to sign McDonald, but changed his mind after McDonald flew to Chicago for a meeting.
“The strongest thing was his candor, his forthrightness, and his motivation,” McCaskey said on April 7.
The Bears had signed McDonald to a one-year, million-dollar-plus contract. But none of the money was guaranteed, so the Bears walk away with no financial obligations.