Bears anticipate that Eddie Goldman will return in 2021

Goldman opted out of playing in the 2020 season during the pandemic.

(670 The Score) The Bears anticipate that nose tackle Eddie Goldman will return for the 2021 season, general manager Ryan Pace said Tuesday, after Goldman opted out of playing in 2020 amid the pandemic.

The Bears have maintained a dialogue with Goldman. New defensive line coach Chris Rumph has been among those in contact with the 27-year-old Goldman.

"Obviously we really missed him this year," Pace said. "Excited to get him back in the mix.

"He's a big piece of what we're doing, so we're excited about that."

Goldman was one of two Bears players to opt out of playing last season, with the other being veteran safety Jordan Lucas. Without Goldman at the nose tackle position, the Bears' defense regressed in 2020. That included against the run, where Chicago ranked 15th in opponents' rushing yards after ranking ninth in 2019 with Goldman in the middle of their defense.

The Bears' defensive line is set to return its central figures with Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols and several key players under contract for 2021.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.