LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chemistry is critical at inside linebacker. A lack of cohesion at the position can rapidly undermine a defense, resulting in confusion, busted plays and missed assignments. No one understands the need for continuity in the middle more than the Chicago Bears, who started six different inside linebacker combinations in 2015.
With the exception of undrafted rookies John Timu and Jonathan Anderson, Chicago’s group of inside backers contributed a tiny amount of impact plays, which is why Bears management overhauled the spot in free agency, bringing in respected veterans Danny Trevathan ($12 million guaranteed) and Jerrell Freeman ($6 million guaranteed).
In particular, Trevathan understands the need for familiarity inside. The Bears’ top target in free agency, Trevathan played alongside Brandon Marshall for three years in Denver, forming one of the NFL’s most productive inside linebacker tandems. Trevathan and Marshall each had 100-plus tackles on the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 winning defense.
“Marshall and I were hurt together one year, so we worked a whole offseason together and he was just himself and I was myself,” Trevathan said. “We played well together, and he's my brother because we worked together and we went through something together.”
Trevathan thinks he can enjoy similar success with Freeman, who started four years in Indianapolis after a stint up north in the Canadian Football League.
"We can feed off each other,” Trevathan said. “You know, I've seen him around the league, and I'm like, I like the way he plays. I know he played in Canada for a bit, but I like his attitude and the way he hits the linemen, and you know he hits fullbacks and he's just aggressive. You know that's what you want in a Mike (middle) linebacker and a linebacker as well.
"You know he thinks he’s faster than me, but I doubt that. He's quick though, you know, and we're going to feed off that, and we're definitely going to eat out here on this field.”
But Trevathan stresses team-building is important throughout the defense, not just at linebacker. And only when that bond is created can a defense play at a championship level.
“You have to be a family both on and off the field. That’s my thing,” Trevathan said. “I want to get the defense -- I just got a house -- I want them to come to my house. We can go out to eat, build that family atmosphere. At the same time, when we’re out here we’re all working toward that one common goal, and that’s to be great and to win a championship. You have to be hungry.
“I’ve been to the Super Bowl two times; one time I lost, but to win it’s a different feeling. You want that feeling every year. It’s hard work, but after being around some of the guys I was around, like Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, I know what it takes. The attitude has got to spread like wildfire. These guys have got to be hungry, like I said. They are. I feel like we’ve got a great group of guys. We’ve just got to keep pushing it and keep having great days.”
The Bears moved up two spots to draft Floyd ninth overall in late April.
“Well, he’s big and fast,” Bears right guard Kyle Long said of Floyd.
“He’s very long. He’s got really good hips and leverage. Obviously being back inside I haven’t had an opportunity to go against him. But you see it on tape. He flashes some really, really good stuff. Obviously, he can run all over the field. He covers anything with a heartbeat and he can rush the passer, so that’s a dynamic guy.”
Floyd’s weight, however, is a topic of conversation.
Chicago’s training staff put Floyd on a strength and nutrition program designed to bulk up his lanky, 6-foot-4 frame.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio anticipates Floyd playing at 230-235 pounds.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a play or two every game where you’re going to say, ‘Jeez, he’s not heavy enough’ or ‘He’s too light.’” Fangio said. “Hopefully there’ll be a few plays every game, too, that we say, ‘Well, jeez, we didn’t have anybody who could have done that in the past.’ He is what he is."
The Bears have agreed to terms with eight of their nine 2016 picks. Third-round choice Jonathan Bullard is the only draftee yet to sign.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- In less than two years, the Chicago Bears have gone from having the NFL's oldest roster to having one of the youngest.
Only two players on the Bears' offseason 90-man roster have 10-plus years of professional experience -- Robbie Gould (12) and Jay Cutler (11) -- and just six guys are in their 30s -- Jerrell Freeman (30), Manny Ramirez (33), Zach Miller (31), Willie Young (30), Gould (34) and Cutler (33).
For Bears management to orchestrate such dramatic roster turnover, the club had to sever ties with a large group of veterans, including Chicago's second all-time leading rusher, Matt Forte, and locker room leader Matt Slauson.
"Well there's two Matts that were let go this past season," Bears right guard Kyle Long said at organized team activites. "Obviously Matt Forte is, when you think about the Bears you think about number 22, Matt Forte. But the Slauson thing was really tough for me because he's a guy that took me under his wing and showed me everything about being a pro. Didn't just talk about it; I got to watch him every day and see him do it the right way and I wish him nothing but the best in San Diego. I'm sure we'll play a lot of golf out there."
Long, though, is convinced the Bears can overcome the key losses.
"Obviously missing Slauson, missing guys like Slauson and Forte, there are large voids to be filled," Long said. "But this team has been built on horizontal leadership and we've done a great job bringing in the right people, defensively, offensively and the special teams unit. I love the coaches, I love the guys on this team, I don't think that will be an issue, so I don't really have to take on that much bigger of a role because of the guys that we have in our room. Everybody is kind of accountable themselves."
"I can hold somebody accountable, they'll hold me accountable. We don't miss reps in the weight room. If something happens on the field, it's covered immediately. You don't hear a lot of screaming and shouting from coaches because they know the guys are going to be on one another."
The list offseason defections also extends to the coaching staff, where Dowell Loggains is charged with replacing former play caller Adam Gase, who is now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Long, who moved back to right guard after the Bears signed free agent right tackle Bobby Massie, is optimistic the transition between Gase to Loggains will be seamless.
"I don't think there's a lot of turnover in terms of the relationships with the players he has. He does a great job of relating to everybody. Also his confidence, he's got a bit of swagger, it emanates through the building and there's a trickle-down effect there. You can see it in our meetings and you'll start to see it translate in practice. It's still early, so you'll see a lot of translate with his thought process."
A simple Carolina Panthers tweet trumpeting their depth at wide receiver somehow turned into a lengthy exchange of GIFs -- mainly of cats and bears -- with the Chicago Bears' Twitter account, which ended when Panthers coach Ron Rivera got involved.
The Panthers' wide receiver tweet got the attention of a Bears fan and things escalated from there.
The last word went to Rivera.
The lesson learned here is that team Twitter accounts have an alarming wealth of GIFs to work with.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Shifty rookie slot receiver Daniel Braverman has a chip on his shoulder the size of South Florida.
“I grew up with a chip on my shoulder just from being from South Florida and always having to prove myself on the field,” Braverman said at the Chicago Bears' organized team activities.
Long before the Bears used a seventh-round pick on Braverman, the Miramar, Florida, native often felt overlooked in high school, primarily because of his size.
Even now, Braverman’s 5-foot-10, 177-pound frame raises questions about his ability to compete at the NFL level.
“It’s great talent everywhere in South Florida,” said Braverman, who played at University School in Fort Lauderdale. “Everywhere you look there’s a new five-star, four-star, and I was just the undersized kid who wasn’t that highly profiled. Every game you are playing with at least 10 Division I guys on the field. My team had about like 18 Division I players on one team.
Proving myself is still an everyday process. One of my mottos is 'one day better.' And that’s what I take with me. As soon as I wake up, I got to do something striving towards getting myself better as a football player and as a person.”
Braverman did enough at University School to get a scholarship from Western Michigan, and he became the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2015 to have 100-plus catches, 1,350-plus receiving yards and 13-plus touchdowns.
Braverman’s national coming-out party occurred against Michigan State and Ohio State, where he combined to catch 23 passes for 232 yards and one touchdown.
“I think that played a little bit of a role [in being drafted] because I knew that’s what the scouts and NFL teams were going to look at,” Braverman said. “Knowing that I did well against those teams -- hopefully it showed some teams that I could play at higher level than, I guess, the MAC conference — which is a great conference, but to the outside world people don’t look at it as that. It was fun playing those games.”
Braverman decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility and ultimately landed in Chicago, where he’ll have to compete with Marquess Wilson, Marc Mariani, Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy for one of the final roster spots at wide receiver.
Braverman insists he has no regrets over leaving college early, even though another year at Western Michigan might have resulted in better draft positioning in 2017.
“One thing Michael Jordan said, once he makes his decision, he never looks back on it,” Braverman said. “You can’t regret anything. You got to look forward. As the rounds kept passing I was stressing -- I’m not going to lie. But everything happens for a reason and I’m here right now with the Chicago Bears and I’m just trying to take it all in and work as hard as I can.”
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jeremy Langford knows the pressure is on compared to last season.
"It’s a lot different," Langford said at organized team activities. "It’s up to me, how I deal with it. Last year, it was more, 'Let’s see what he can do,' and now it’s 'We need you out there to make plays.'
A fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, Langford made plays in 2015, finishing with 816 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns. He joined Hall of Famers Walter Payton and Gale Sayers as the only Chicago Bears rookies with a rushing touchdown in four straight games since 1960. Langford also became the third player in franchise history with 100 receiving yards, one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown in a single game.
Langford, however, played mostly a complimentary role next to veteran Matt Forte.
That all changed when Bears management let Forte (now a member of the New York Jets) leave via free agency. At 24-years old, Langford has ascended to the top of the depth chart, a promotion he says he’s ready for.
"Even last year, I think I prepared a lot, you know, just in case," Langford said. "Playing running back, you never know what can happen. So I prepared a lot to know the whole offense and be the starter if I have to.
"But this year, it’s really just trying to become more of a leader at the position, being a running back in Chicago. Being more of a leader and really just not being that secondary guy. Acting like more of a veteran and know the whole offense. I learned a lot from Forte, being the guy he was, so you ain’t got to be a hoo-rah guy all the time. Being a young player, it’s just being in the right place at the right time and doing what you got to do. Really helping younger guys coming in, or even the guys following you, being a leader by example."
Langford will face competition for playing time. Not only do the Bears return experienced tailbacks Jacquizz Rodgers and Ka'Deem Carey, the team used a fifth-round pick on Indiana/UAB rusher Jordan Howard, who like Langford, excelled in the Big Ten.
The Bears think Howard’s physical rushing style is a suitable compliment to Langford, who possesses breakaway speed in the open field.
"I really didn’t think too much of it [the Bears drafting Howard]," Langford said. "I know it’s just competition. That’s what brings a lot of running backs, a lot of positions to push themselves even more. Competition is always a good thing and playing in the NFL, there’s always going to be competition, so you can’t really become too complacent as a player."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Fully healthy after an entire season of rehabilitation, Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White said Wednesday that he and quarterback Jay Cutler have forged a strong relationship, one that includes spending time together off the field.
"We try to [hang out] as much as we can," the 2015 first-round pick said at organized team activities. "Jay has a family, so he has to handle whatever he has to handle as a father. But when we can, we go to dinner or go over to his house, hang out a little bit."
Aside from the obvious benefit of "getting more balls" by befriending the quarterback, White said he and Cutler share some interests.
"We enjoy watching TV shows," White said. "He'll talk about 'The Walking Dead.' They love watching that. I love watching 'Revenge.' Jay's telling me to watch 'Walking Dead.' I'm telling his to watch 'Revenge.' And we're flip-flopping and talking about it inside the facility. Jay says he's a really good basketball player. I've still yet to see that. But he is really good at baseball, really good. I'm terrible."
The Bears think White can be special at football. He starred at West Virginia, where he caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season, then was selected seventh overall in the 2015 draft.
Bears fourth-round pick Nick Kwiatkoski, who played alongside White at West Virginia and roomed with the receiver's brother last year, said White routinely gave the Mountaineers defense fits at practice.
"Kevin is a guy who brings a lot to the table -- speed, strength, power, everything," the linebacker Kwiatkoski said. "He can hurt you many different ways. He's the guy you have to keep tabs on, no matter where he's at on the field."
However, White developed a stress fracture in his left shin prior to the combine, and it failed to heal on its own. He eventually required surgery to insert a steel rod in his tibia to stabilize the injury.
White missed the entire 2015 season but has been full-go in the Bears' voluntary offseason program for several months. He participated in Wednesday's OTA without restrictions. He looked stronger and more muscular than his official listed weight of 217 pounds.
"There were rough days [rehabbing]," White said. "I knew I would get back to that point. It was just a matter of time when. But as far as getting back to 100 percent, a couple months ago. I'm not sure exactly when, but I feel good now.
"That's all I'm worried about moving forward. I'm really not focused on the leg too much."
Here is the latest installment of the Chicago Bears' weekly mailbag. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. Have a great rest of the week.
— OH Jr (@Chomper1989) May 23, 2016
Jeff Dickerson: Let's slow down with Jeremy Langford. Matt Forte leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (12,718) since 2008, and is second in Bears career rushing yards (8,602), fourth in rushing touchdowns (45) and third in total touchdowns (64). Forte is special. Langford is intriguing, but he's not on Forte's level. At least, not yet. Forte anchored Chicago's backfield for eight consecutive seasons. Some years Forte touched the ball more than 350 times. Langford had 170 touches in 2015. That number is bound to increase in 2016. Can Langford stay healthy? Can he be as productive when opponents spend the week preparing to stop him? I like Langford, but he only started two games last season. There is a lot we still don't know. So while Langford is the front-runner to be the No. 1 guy, I do expect competition at running back between Langford, Jordan Howard, Ka'Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers, who impressed the Bears before he went on injured reserve last season.
— Dan J (@dj_jaco_10) May 23, 2016
JD: Alshon Jeffery is 26 years old. Kevin White turns 24 in June. Instead of allowing Jeffery to simply walk away next offseason, the Bears should attempt to keep them together beyond 2016. For all the injury concerns, Jeffery has the ninth most receiving yards (3,361) in the NFL since 2013. Jeffery's 12 games with 100-plus receiving yards are tied for fifth in franchise history, behind Harlon Hill (19), Johnny Morris (15), Brandon Marshall (15) and Mike Ditka (14). Jeffery is already 10th in team history with 252 receptions after playing just four seasons. So, I'm puzzled that some Bears fans want to kick him to the curb. Jeffery can play. But I do understand the complexities of contract negotiations. The Jeffery deal is not a simple one. He could very well play under the franchise tag in 2016; then try his luck in free agency next year. But even if White develops into a special player, the Bears won't be better off without Jeffery. This franchise hasn't won a Super Bowl in 30 years. They're not good enough to let young, talented players leave for nothing in return.
— Dan Bettenhausen (@dhouse77) May 23, 2016
JD: Good question, Dan. John Fox is here for a minimum of three-to-four years. My guess is he sticks around longer than that. The Bears paid Fox a lot of money, and that contract is guaranteed. He is secure. Vic Fangio is a respected defensive coordinator. He is safe. However, Fox's long-term commitment to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is unknown. Loggains is much younger than Fox and Fangio, and therefore does not have that proven track record of success. There might be less patience with Loggains, who did call plays in Tennessee for 1.5 years. But big picture -- the Bears have no interest in making another round of sweeping changes. That would be expensive, especially with this coaching staff.
— Tom Karagiannis (@Thomas_Stephen_) May 23, 2016
JD: Deon Bush has only been in the building for a couple of weeks. Coaches usually hold off on reaching any firm conclusions about players until training camp/preseason, when the team is in full pads. But the Bears thought enough of Bush to release Antrel Rolle after the draft. Bush should challenge for a starting job. My only quasi-critical observation (rookie minicamp is non-contact) is that Bush looked smaller than I expected. The only reason I bring that up is because he is known to be a big-hitter in the secondary. That caught me off-guard. But the Bears clearly like him.
— Diego (@mynameiselium) May 23, 2016
JD: The problem with non-contact offseason workouts is that (barring a freak injury) a player really can't win a job on the offensive line. Offensive line coach Dave Magazu said the right side of the line is set with Kyle Long (right guard) and Bobby Massie (right tackle). Magazu additionally gave Charles Leno another vote of confidence at left tackle. That leaves left guard and center open. Cody Whitehair is a guard/center, but he figures to initially compete at left guard. The other guard/centers in the mix include Ted Larsen, Hroniss Grasu and Manny Ramirez. My best guess is that by the middle of the preseason, the Bears will have settled on their starting five.
As former second-round picks, they all quickly ascended into starting roles, which is generally the expectation for every player selected that high.
Cody Whitehair is no different.
A decorated left tackle at Kansas State, Whitehair is projected to challenge for a permanent job at left guard for the Chicago Bears, and maybe, at center.
Whitehair has never played center in a game, but offensive line coach Dave Magazu said the first-year lineman took some snaps at center in rookie camp, because “you can never have enough of those guys who can play guard/center.”
Magazu added: “There was a consistency about Cody throughout the pre-draft phases -- Senior Bowl, interviews, pre-draft visit and the combine -- and when you put on his tape, he is just a good, consistent football player. He can move, he can run, and he understands leverage. Those are some of the things he does well. I think the thing [we’ll work on] is the mental aspect of picking it all up, especially as stuff starts to change and evolve once we get going.”
“He's a technician,” Whitehair said of Martin. “He's very technically sound and puts himself in the right place at the right time. You always have an advantage with that. He had a lot of success and he's built kind of like me. So I just watched him and watched his feet and watched his hands and tried to learn as much as I could from him.”
Whitehair is also a self-confessed farm enthusiast. The 6-foot-4, 301 pound lineman believes the farm life in tiny Abilene, Kansas (population 6,884) honed his work ethic. That dedication to his craft should serve Whitehair well at the next level.
“I threw a lot of hay bales,” Whitehair said. “Once I went to college I didn't quite get to do it as much, but when I was in high school, I was always out there at 6 in the morning until ... you know if we had a truck driver coming in at 11 o'clock at night, I had to be that guy to help out.
“I just like to be on a farm. I like the outdoors and I like to work hard. It's just what I'm all about. It's who I am and what I like to do.”
After months of endless rumors, mock drafts and the occasional actual transaction, the player movement portion of the NFL offseason is basically over. So, now that everything is settled, let's run through the NFL and take a bird's-eye view of each team's offseason. Click the links below to read how I graded your team's offseason.
Arizona Cardinals: Arizona finally got its superstar pass-rusher, while using its first-round pick on the kind of high-risk, high-reward player the Cardinals have had success developing in the past. How did the Cardinals grade out?
Here is the post-rookie camp installment of the Chicago Bears' mailbag. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. Enjoy the rest of the week.
@DickersonESPN should Bears fans be concerned with alshon wanting out of Chicago? Heard he doesn't like it here.
— x SnoUt x (@xSnoUtx) May 17, 2016
Jeff Dickerson: I have $14.599 million reasons not to worry. Jeffery already signed his franchise tag tender. He isn't going anywhere for at least one more season. Do the Bears want him at voluntary workouts? Of course they do. But they are voluntary, according to the league's collective bargaining agreement. "He told me he will be here when it matters," new Bears receivers coach Curtis Johnson said. You can expect Jeffery to attend mandatory veteran minicamp in June, and then report on-time to Bourbonnais when training camp opens in late July. Jeffery is supposedly working hard in South Florida to correct those soft tissue problems. For Jeffery's' sake, I hope the decision to train independently doesn't blow up in his face. But no one can predict the future.
Back to your question about Jeffery being unhappy - look, professional football is essentially a year-to-year sport. At this point, who cares about 2017? For Jeffery to secure a lucrative long-term deal, he has to play like a top-five receiver in 2016. Jeffery knows it. The Bears know it. I've heard conflicting accounts regarding Jeffery's true feelings about playing in Chicago. Again, why does it matter? Jeffery is hurting himself if he gives less than maximum effort in the fall. I think it's a non-issue. I'm way concerned about Jeffery's health rather than his supposed lack of dedication to the city.
@DickersonESPN Is this offense going to be good enough in year 2 of the rebuild, or is more patience in order?
— Blackhawks1963 (@Blackhawks1963) May 17, 2016
JD: I preach patience. The offense could easily regress without Adam Gase, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. At receiver, Kevin White, Eddie Royal and Jeffery have injury question marks. The offensive line is unsettled on the left side. Starting tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie are far from sure things. And the most important piece of the puzzle, Jay Cutler, is on his sixth offensive coordinator since 2009. On defense, the Bears look better, but they didn't exactly add a ton of playmakers. I felt given the (apparently) softer schedule, plus the offseason improvements, the Bears could finish 9-7 if a couple breaks go their way. But they could just as easily be 8-8 or 7-9. Be excited about the upcoming season, but keep in mind the Bears' playoff drought could reach six consecutive years.
— John McPherson (@huegtoad) May 17, 2016
JD: You're talking about Roy Robertson-Harris. He's impossible to miss on the practice field. The guy is 6-foot-7, 255 pounds. So he looks great. I do question why Robertson-Harris went undrafted. Why did the entire league take a pass? We won't know the answer until the pads come on in the summer. But John, I agree, Robertson-Harris is an intriguing talent. Let's see how he tackles and gets off blocks.
@DickersonESPN Whos your front runner to start opposite adrian amos?
— Gaylord White (@DiabloNgro) May 17, 2016
JD: Probably, Deon Bush. He is a logical compliment to Adrian Amos. Bush is a heavy-hitter, who started 32 career games at Miami. Amos is more of a rangy, free safety kind of player. As a fourth-round draft choice, Bush is expected to contribute either on defense or special teams. So the Bears definitely have Bush in their plans for 2016. Sixth-round pick DeAndre Houston-Carson is another rookie to watch, but he played collegiately at William & Mary. Houston-Carson might need more time to transition to NFL life, whereas Bush played at a major program like Miami, and routinely faced the best college talent in the country. Harold Jones-Quartey showed flashes last year, too. I think it's safe to say the Bears will be very young at safety in 2016. But of all the options, Amos and Bush seems the most plausible.
— Brendon (@riha151) May 17, 2016
JD: The first open OTA is next week. From all accounts, however, White is having a fine offseason program. "Kevin White was one of the better receivers I've seen coming out (of college)," Curtis Johnson said. "He reminded me of some of the guys I had at Miami. He reminded me of Andre Johnson. Very similar to him. Hands similar to Reggie Wayne. Kevin's one of those guys that when you looked at the draft and you watched television, you said this guy's going to be a bona fide player." The Bears believe White is special. They have raised expectations to a whole new level. Not sure White catches more touchdowns than Jeffery, but the Bears obviously think White is capable of 60-plus receptions per year.
Young has one year left on his current deal that calls for him to earn $2.450 million in 2016, plus a $50,000 workout bonus.
Young, 30, converted from defensive end to outside linebacker to fit Chicago’s new 3-4 defense last season. He fared better than expected. Although Young missed the entire offseason program rehabbing from a torn left Achilles tendon, he still led the team in tackles for loss with 12 and finished second with 6.5 sacks.
“I think me being a professional, coming out of college I was always a defensive end,” Young said. “Once I got to the NFL I ended up having to be versatile. I think me just being the athlete that I am, blessed with the talents that I’ve been given, I’m just able to adapt to whatever the situation might be. In this particular case I guess it’s at another position.”
At defensive end in 2014, Young posted a career-high 10.0 sacks in his first season with the Bears.
Young played for the Detroit Lions from 2010-13.
The Bears have plenty of options at outside linebacker to complement Pernell McPhee, who is guaranteed $7 million in 2016. Not only did the club invest the ninth overall pick in Leonard Floyd, but veteran Lamarr Houston’s (team-high 8.0 sacks in 2015) base salary is $5.950 million this season. The Bears also re-signed Sam Acho to a one-year deal that contains $130,000 in guaranteed money.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- For Deon Bush, football runs in the family.
Bush’s father, Gary, played running back at Mississippi Valley State alongside Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. The elder Bush emphasized early on to his son that he needed a strong work ethic to flourish in football.
“I mean throughout my football career, he used to take me out working out all the time,” Bush said at Chicago’s rookie camp. “He’d take me out early in the morning. So he is a big influence on my football career. He just taught me work ethic, to continue working and never get satisfied. You always got to work.
"I just want to continue to endorse my family in the best way possible.”
Renowned for a physical style of play, Bush developed into a hard-hitting safety who made 32 career starts for the Hurricanes. The Bears saw enough potential in Bush to draft him in the fourth round in late April. The rookie is expected to challenge for the vacant starting safety spot next to Adrian Amos.
“I always took pride on being physical and being tough and that’s just the way I play the game,” Bush said. “I’ve been playing like that since I was little, and I just want to keep that going. So it’s kind of like second nature. That’s how I like to play the game. I like to be physical.”
But Bush’s arrival came at a cost.
Just two days after the draft, Chicago released veteran Antrel Rolle, another former Hurricanes safety who Bush befriended in South Florida.
“Football is a business,” Bush said. “Antrel is still like a brother to me. He still called me and helped me out. That’s pretty much it. He just talked to me and still has my back through whatever. I worked out with him back in Miami. He just giving me little pointers on what to do expect and just being a pro. How to become a pro. That’s basically what he helped me with.”
Rolle, 33, lasted only one season in Chicago. An ironman before the 2015 season, Rolle played in just seven games for the Bears, suffering serious ankle and knee injuries. Rolle even blamed subpar field conditions at the team’s practice facility for the season-ending MCL tear he suffered in November.
Through it all, Rolle still managed to speak positively to Bush about the Bears.
“He said it’s a good situation with the Bears,” Bush said. “He said he liked the Bears, and he said I was walking into a good situation, good coaches, good people around here, great fan base. I’m just very thankful to be a part of this organization right now.”