Free agent DL Henry Melton was arrested back in December for assault and public intoxication stemming from an altercation with a bartender at Chill Sports Bar & Grill in his native Texas, and now his erratic behavior has seemed to catch up to him.
The restaurant owner is suing Melton over the incident reportedly for a sum larger than $1 million. On the other hand, Melton’s legal representatives are planning a lawsuit as well, stemming from the night of the incident. It is said that Melton bit the restaurant owner after being asked to leave, causing the owner to feel psychological distress, although Melton denies the altercation.
It seems as if Melton being involved in a dicey lawsuit paired with the former Pro Bowler rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered last season would prove too much for the Chicago Bears to re-sign him—Wrong.
Although Melton’s return to the Windy City is uncertain, it is not because of the lawsuit he is up against; it is because the Bears are letting Melton test the free agent market making it a possibility that Melton can sign with another team before the Bears can make him an offer.
The Bears have come out and said they want to re-sign Melton, lawsuit and all, but for the right price. Melton is definitely in Chicago’s future plans, which is the reason why the Bears placed the franchise tag on him last season, but after coming off of knee surgery, Melton won’t receive anything remotely close to the $8.45 million he received as the team’s franchise player.
This is the reason Bears GM Phil Emery wants to see Melton’s value in the open market. Melton has already been on a visit with division rival Minnesota Vikings and has several other visits lined up. As soon as the Bears find out Melton’s market value they will play their hand in re-signing Melton, but it could be too late.
New Bear Lamarr Houston, Melton’s teammate at the University of Texas, has come out and said he would love to play on the same defensive line as his former college teammate. Along with Jeremiah Ratliff and new Bear acquisition Willie Young, they would make the Bears a force up front.
All the Bears have to do is play their cards right and hope Melton’s ACL injury and civil lawsuit is behind him.