Connor Shaw was about six hours into his drive to South Carolina on May 30 when Dowell Loggains called him, saying the Bears needed him back.
Shaw was waived that Tuesday morning to make room for wide receiver Victor Cruz, but a few hours later, Mark Sanchez suffered a knee injury that would sideline him until training camp. So the Bears needed another quarterback, and Shaw was the natural choice, even if he had just drove through Lexington, Ky.
“I had a little bit of a hike back,” Shaw said. “But well worth the drive.”
With Sanchez out for the remainder of the Bears’ offseason program — including next week’s veteran minicamp — Shaw and Mitch Trubisky are receiving more reps, both in terms of number and significance. So Shaw will have a better opportunity to show coaches the same flashes he did last year, while Trubisky was handed the keys to the second-string offense this week.
Running the second-string offense is an early opportunity for Trubisky to embrace the challenge of taking command of a unit.
“Instead of the threes, I’m with the twos,” Trubisky said. “So it’s getting the reps, getting comfortable and whoever I’m with, whenever I’m in the huddle, it’s taking command and doing my job.”
While Sanchez may not practice again until late July, Trubisky praised the example set by the former New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys quarterback.
“He’s a smart guy, he’s seen a lot of offenses,” Trubisky said. “So being around, having that playoff experience and knowing what it takes to get back there, he’s taught me a lot about how to carry yourself not just on the field but off the field as well. I like spending time with him.”
As for Shaw, he always figured a return to the Bears could be a possibility, but he didn’t expect it to happen halfway through his trip leaving Chicago. Shaw is the only quarterback on the Bears’ roster who was here last year, even though he suffered a season-ending injury last August.
That knowledge has helped Shaw make a smooth return to Halas Hall, even if it came after a whirlwind 24 hours.
“You’ve just got to refocus your mind,” Shaw said. “You’re got to get back into the routine of things and compete even if I were on a different squad. I’m very fortunate to be here, be a Chicago Bear. But you just go back to second nature when you start playing football.”