For the third time in the past four weeks the Bears are preparing to host an opponent with a past that has involved key individuals in the Bears’ present and future. The NFL may be a business but sometimes it gets personal.
Last month it was the Denver Broncos, the team that John Fox coached and took to four straight playoffs, until they decided after last season that they could do nicely without him.
Last week it was the San Francisco 49ers, the team whose defenses Vic Fangio took to near-championship heights, until they decided that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula would be a more worthy successor to Jim Harbaugh than Fangio, the man Tomsula worked under, or Adam Gase.
This week it is the Washington Redskins, the team that thought enough of defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins to snag him in the second round of the 2011 draft but not enough to re-sign him last offseason.
Jenkins remembers. And he is intent on being sure the Redskins do as well.
“I can’t go in there thinking I’ve got to be Superman but obviously it’s special to me,” Jenkins told CSNChicago.com. “That’s the team that I parted ways with and I really want to bring my best ‘A’ game. Anytime a team lets you go, you want to make them remember about letting you go.
“I want to go in there and make them remember why they drafted me and not forget that they let me go.”
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]
Cornerback Tracy Porter signed a two-year contract with Washington in March 2014. He played three games under that deal, worth potentially $6.25 million ($2 million in bonus), went on IR with a shoulder injury and then was waived in late May 2015. He signed less than two weeks later with the Bears, but for $870,000.
No hard feelings, though, will enter into Sunday’s business with Washington receivers he once covered in practice.
“You’re going to play your hardest and do your best anyway,” Porter said. “But I’m not going to do anything outside of the defense to say, ‘Hey, look at me!’”
For good measure, the Bears probably should do things to ensure a different outcome from the past couple of show-them games, losses to Denver and San Francisco. But the emotions will be under control and the focus on assignments at hand.
“You always want to play a team that, obviously, parted ways with you,” Jenkins said. “[But] there’s not going to be any emotions in it. I’m going to go in there, play with my brothers and do what we do every week — preparing and not trying to do any extra, but obviously try to get that win.”