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Willie Young confirms extension talks, wants to retire as Bear

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears outside linebacker Willie Young confirmed that the team is interested in extending his contract, which expires after the 2016 season.

“Yeah, there has been some stuff mentioned here and there, but that’s something that will be left up to my agent so I don’t get caught in the middle of it,” Young said Wednesday at organized team activities. “I just show up every day to work and work on my craft.”

Young is scheduled to earn $2.45 million, plus a $50,000 workout bonus in the final year of his deal.

“I would like to be here long-term. Absolutely,” Young said. “I would like to finish my career up here in Chicago, but you know that’s not up to me; that’s up to my agent and management.”

Young, 30, moved from defensive end to outside linebacker in 2015, where he led the team with 12 tackles for loss, and finished second on the defense in sacks (6.5).

“I had to figure out how to survive with what I was given,” Young said. “You come into the league as a seventh-round draft pick and you’re not expected to be any more than a practice-squad guy, but I never paid that no mind. I continue to live life on the edge … play ball on the edge ... take my chances. I approached the game as if I were a first-round draft pick. Every day it’s a fight. It’s a jungle out there, man. I’ve never had a break. I don’t expect to get a break. I’m always working.

I was foreign to everything [in the 3-4 scheme]. Not saying I was the only guy. I’m not looking for sympathy here. It’s just a part of the process when you are dealing with a coaching change. A scheme change came along with it.”

And Young performed well without the benefit of an offseason. Late in 2014, Young tore his left Achilles tendon, which prematurely ended his season. Young set a career-high 10 sacks that year. The injury took seven months to fully heal, forcing Young to miss the entire offseason workout program as the club made a transition to Vic Fangio’s new 3-4 alignment.

“I'm pretty good, man,” Young said. “I'm pretty good at what I do. I'm pretty good at what I do. Whatever situation that I'm thrown in, I do pretty good of coming out smelling like a rose. I haven't always been put in the right position or the right situation, but I somehow manage to figure out how to come out smelling like a rose. I had to figure it out. That's part of why I'm here today. That's why you guys are asking me questions. I must be doing something right.”

Young played for the Detroit Lions from 2010-13.