For the second time in 2019, a field goal attempt sent the Bears on vacation.
This time it was off the feet of Eddy Pineiro and Elliot Fry, both hitting kicks that wrapped up the team’s three days of veteran minicamp. Don’t tell them there weren’t stakes, either.
“They both nailed two 40-yard’ers down the middle so our guys got out of gassers, which was nice,” said Matt Nagy. “So if you heard any cheering, that’s why. Our guys think I’m nice and that if they would’ve missed it, they weren’t going to run anyway. But they were going to run.”
And now, the Bears go on vacation for the next five weeks -- as mandated by the NFL -- before heading down to Bourbonnais in late July to start the highly-anticipated Year 2.
What happens next depends on who you ask. For the Bears’ outside corners, coincidence or not, it’s off to bask in the arid heat of southwestern summers.
“I like to go down to Arizona, where I’m from, and train at my high school,” Prince Amukamara said. “I’m probably not going to do any traveling, but I’ll train and probably get my mind off it a little bit.”
“I like to get away somewhere a little bit quieter,” Kyle Fuller added. “I go to Arizona ... I play a lot of golf. That’s really it.”
If you can believe it, Fuller won’t be the only professional football player hitting the links during his down time. For wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who just recently picked it up, the next month or will be all about tinkering his swing.
“I'm going to do a lot of golfing this little break,” Gabriel said. “I'm decent, I'm not that good, not just yet. Just two months in, give me a little time.”
The sense around Halas Hall (and realistically most of the NFL’s other halls) is that the next five weeks will act more as a mental break than a physical one. For example: defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano requested that his unit watch just one hour of film per day. After two weeks of practices in which, on more than one occasion, Nagy had to tell the team to dial back the intensity, the goal is now to find whatever mindset is needed before The Grind starts. For some, that means radio silence.
“Right now I'm about to go into my shell and I'm going to be hard to reach and hard to talk to,” said Akiem Hicks. “The only person that gets through is Mom.”
Not everyone will go MIA, though. Trey Burton will stick around Lake Forest while he continues to rehab and get treatment for a sports hernia surgery he underwent this offseason. Mitch Trubisky has no plans to take it easy, either.
“I’m not thinking about going home, I’m thinking about getting out here to practice in a little bit,” he said. “This is what I love to do, this is what we look forward to do.
“For me, you get to relax and take care of your body for a little bit, but I’m always thinking about football.”
For others, it means soaking up the much-needed time around loved ones that can prove to be elusive for 8 months of the NFL year. Eddie Jackson goes home to Florida to train with “the guys I started with, from when I was little.” Matt Nagy eschews his Bears visor for his Dad Hat, which presumably is also a visor.
“I personally think it’s important that I make sure I’m still a good dad, a good husband, and during the season you don’t get any of that,” Nagy said. “And that’s your obligation. We’ll be going some places with my family and I’ll put football aside for a little bit, because that’ll make me better if I do that, and better in the season.”