Joining Bears on nearly $40 million deal, ex-Raven Pernell McPhee says he plays violently

Ex-Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday.
Ex-Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday.(Christopher T. Assaf / Baltimore Sun)

Now that former Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee has officially joined the Chicago Bears on a five-year deal worth nearly $40 million, the veteran pass rusher intends to provide an intimidation factor for his new football team.

"I'm violent, that's all you need to be is violent," McPhee said during his televised introductory press conference at Halas Hall in Chicago. "I'm just a violent guy. I try to forget about the last player, whether good or bad, and play with that emotion and play with energy."


The Bears invested nearly $16 million guaranteed in McPhee, banking on him emerging as a dangerous full-time player after playing roughly half the snaps with the Ravens working behind accomplished outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.

"He's disruptive, he hits the quarterback a ton," Bears coach John Fox said of McPhee. "He's an ascending player. He's got length. He's a productive pass rusher. He's a steady run defender. That all jumps out."

McPhee, 26, emerged as one of the top under-the-radar pass rushers last season with 7.5 sacks.

"I play with an attitude, play with a swagger," McPhee said. "I want to dominate the game."

Dumervil had 17 sacks and Suggs had a dozen sacks with McPhee learning behind them.

"Playing with Dumervil and Suggs was a blessing," McPhee said. "They taught me to play with my eyes, hands and feet, how to read the game."

McPhee is projected to play outside linebacker in the Bears' 3-4 defensive scheme, which has some similarities to the Ravens'.

McPhee had a versatile role with the Ravens, lining up everywhere from defensive end to outside linebacker and at nose tackle and defensive tackle.


"Wherever coach needs me," McPhee said. "If he needs me to play cornerback, I'll play cornerback. It's just a blessing and opportunity to show that guys like me can play any position in the front four."

The Ravens didn't attempt to compete financially with the Bears to hold onto McPhee, accepting that he would be the next young defensive standout to leave the organization.

It happened last year when defensive tackle Arthur Jones signed a five-year, $33 million contract ($16 million guaranteed) with the Indianapolis Colts. Two years ago, Ravens linebackers Paul Kruger (five years, $40.5 million, $13 million guaranteed) and Dannell Ellerbe (five years, $35 million, $14 million guaranteed) signed with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, respectively.

"That's in the past," McPhee said when asked about the Ravens' interest in retaining him. "I'm a Chicago Bear. I didn't pay attention to it."

A native of Pahokee, Fla., a small South Florida town known for its rich soil and producing several NFL players, McPhee said he chose the Bears primarily because of Fox.

"Just the right coaches, Chicago was the right place for me," McPhee said. "I'm going to put my trust in coach Fox and our defensive coordinator [Vic Fangio] to find a plan and create a role for me to be successful like I was in Baltimore."


McPhee had 64 quarterback pressures last season and 24 quarterback hits last season. A fifth-round draft pick in 2011 out of Mississippi State, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound McPhee remained healthy all year, unlike previous seasons when he dealt with knee and shoulder problems. McPhee previously had knee surgeries and groin surgery.

McPhee emphasized that his knees and shoulders are feeling good, saying: "God done touched 'em."