NFL

Shea McClellin taking control of Bears' defense

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Defensive lineman Shea McClelliin #99 of the Chicago Bears pursues the play during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 22, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Bears defeated the Steelers 40-23. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Defensive lineman Shea McClelliin #99 of the Chicago Bears pursues the play during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 22, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Bears defeated the Steelers 40-23. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Fourth-year linebacker Shea McClellin is taking on more of a leadership role for the Chicago Bears' defense. He's calling the signals at middle linebacker in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's new 3-4 scheme, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"You're kind of the quarterback of the defense," McClellin said, per the Sun-Times. "And that's something I've never really been good at per se. I'm not the most vocal guy, but it's definitely something I'm trying to embrace and get better at."

McClellin was a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (19th overall). He failed to catch on as a 4-3 defensive end during his first two seasons, and he wasn't much better after switching to strong-side linebacker last year.

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Bears head coach John Fox understands McClellin's difficult situation.

"He's learning, just like everybody out there," Fox said, per the Sun-Times. "He's got the skill set to do it. If I had to defend the guy in some fashion, he's been in a lot of different positions and been with a lot of different coaches. Sometimes that can thwart a guy's development. He's done a good job, and we're evaluating."

McClellin, 25, is one of few holdovers from the previous regime with an opportunity to shed the draft-bust label. In order to do so, he must embrace and stand out in his newfound leadership role.

(h/t Chicago Sun-Times)