If relations between the Bears, Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky turned icy after how the last four seasons transpired, it wouldn’t be shocking. But according to all parties, there’s no bad blood. So when Trubisky takes the field for the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, things won’t be as awkward as outsiders might anticipate. If he gets the opportunity, Nagy said he’d even walk over to catch up with his former quarterback.
“The respect that we have for him as both a person and as a player, I think everybody here has that for him, all his teammates and coaches,” Nagy said. “We wish him nothing but the best. When the game's going on we're going to do everything we can to stop him. When the game's over we're going to be friends and have good stories. That's the part of life in the NFL for all of us, but it is a relationship business and I think it's important that everyone understands that on our end we care about him as a person.”
That’s a sentiment that’s been repeated by many around Halas Hall. Despite things not working out on the field, players and coaches still appreciate Trubisky and don’t seem to begrudge him for the failings on the offensive side of the ball during his tenure.
“Mitch is my guy,” Eddie Jackson said. “Came in together. I'm just excited to go up against him.
“But this weekend, like I said, I don't care if he's my cousin, my brother一 if you line up on that other side, we're going to give you that work. He's got it coming to him for sure.”
“Mitch did a great job for us,” said Cody Whitehair earlier this week. “I know he's still got a lot of friends on this team so it's going to be good to see him. I'm excited to see him."
The Bears will get plenty of chances to see Trubisky on the field. The Bills announced on Thursday that starting quarterback Josh Allen will not play this weekend, meaning Trubisky will be the man leading the first team offense. He’ll likely get more reps than the average starting QB sees in a preseason game, too.
Behind the scenes, Nagy believes Trubisky was able to remain a respected teammate because of the way he carried himself during turbulent times.
“You can earn trust through your players by the way you handle yourself in practice and in meetings and on the game day,” Nagy said. “Mitch is an extremely tough individual. Really, last year with what he went through with some of the injuries, it could have been easy for him to just say ‘You know what, I'm not playing any more. I got injured and I'm just, I'm done.' And he didn't do that. He fought back. I think that speaks to his teammates and to his coaches.
“And so I'll always go back to the time that we spent together in those three years一 it would not be fair to put everything on him. There's a lot of things that went into that. And I know that he's a resilient guy and he's going to do everything he can to have a successful career.”
For Whitehair, things are a little simpler.
"It's just like, friends are friends. But there's obviously a business side to it too, we understand that. But that's one of the coolest parts about this business: the relationships you make, the bonds and the brothers that you continue一 the relationships you continue to have five, 10, 15, 20 years down the road. Those are just awesome relationships you build and those are lifelong friends."