T.J. Edwards passed the test Chicago Bears fandom test, breaking out his knowledge on 670 the Score with Parkins & Spiegel.
Growing up in Lake Villa and attending Lakes Community High School, Edwards was an avid Bears fan as a child.
"Yeah, I had to have the [Devin] Hester jersey," Edwards said on 670 the Score with Parkins & Spiegel. "I got a picture somewhere with [Brian] Urlacher his rookie year – like a meet and greet or whatever. So I got to meet him. I was a big [Lance] Briggs fan. Mike Brown, all those dudes. Me and my buddies would just kind of emulate them growing up in the backyard, messing around. It's surreal that it's all kind of come full circle like this for sure."
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Plenty of Bears fans around Edwards' age probably own or have seen a Devin Hester jersey. Edwards was 10 years old when the Bears played the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl in 2006.
And like all Bears fans, Edwards thought the Lombardi Trophy belonged to the Bears after Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
"That's a wrap. I thought the game was over. I was like, 'It's over,'" Edwards said. "You can't start it off any better way than that. It was great. We always had like a neighborhood party to watch all the games and stuff. That one that got people off their seats. We were going crazy, no doubt about it."
Taking his fandom a step further, Edwards ascertained he believed Jay Cutler was the answer at quarterback for the Bears during the 2010s, emulating a hysterical mentality most, if not all, Bears fans carried with them during those days.
"Jay Cut, man," Edwards started. "That dude can sling the football. Me and my buddies, we love Jay Cut. The way that he could fit in any window. I understand kind of firsthand how real the NFL is and how tough it is and all the hard work that these dudes put in that kind of get to where they're at.
"And (as a) Chicago fan, I have faith in every single person they've ever brought in. So that's kind of how it works out."
That last part embodies a Chicago Bears fan, and validates Edwards as such. Bears fans are always sniffing to cling to some kind of hope. And now, Edwards is part of that hope.
He will make his hometown return to the Bears in 2023. The Bears signed Edwards to a three-year deal worth $19.5 million, $12 million of which is guaranteed. He joins Tremaine Edmunds, who the Bears signed in free agency from the Buffalo Bills, and Jack Sanborn, Edwards' teammate from the University of Wisconsin, in a reputable linebacker room.
Edwards and Chicago already got off on the right foot. He passed the fandom test soon after his signing became official with the Bears.