Jermon Bushrod knows time with Bears coming to an end


Jermon Bushrod knows time with Bears coming to an end

When right tackle Kyle Long was shaken up and had to come out for one snap during the Bears’ loss on Sunday to the Lions, Charles Leno shifted over from left to right tackle and there was Jermon Bushrod, for a brief snapshot back at left tackle.

It was the position the Bears targeted him for in 2013 free agency, signing him to a five-year deal to protect Jay Cutler’s blind side and anchor the left edge of the Bears’ line.

It didn’t work out the way Bushrod or the Bears wanted.

After missing a total of just three games over the previous six years, Bushrod missed four straight games with a concussion and shoulder injuries suffered in the Seattle game. By the time he was healthy enough to play again, Charles Leno had played well enough in Bushrod’s place that coaches decided to leave Leno as the starter, relegating Bushrod to the bench except for spot duty as an extra blocking tight end.

But that spot duty saved Bushrod’s love of the game, although probably not his roster spot for the final two years of his deal.

“I’m fortunate that [offensive coordinator Adam] Gase gave me the opportunity to do a little extra, the big tight end,” Bushrod said on Monday. “For someone like me, it kept me motivated. This sport motivates me but to have the opportunity to go and contribute, that means a lot. It really means a lot to me.

“That’s what I struggled with earlier this season when things didn’t go my way. The fact that I can compete, you just like to be a part, win, lose or draw. You want to be a part, to hang your hat on what you go out and do. That’s my mindset going forward throughout this thing and I think it’s going to buy me another year or two in this league.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Bushrod is on the books for $6.4 million of salary and a cap hit of $8.7 million in 2016, more than twice Leno and Long combined salaries. That is too much for a backup tackle at age 31, and Bushrod has known that ever since his job became Leno’s.

“There just comes a certain point and time where the business side of this game will catch up to you,” Bushrod acknowledged. “Sometimes you might be put in situations or positions you don’t agree with, but at the end of the day, I was once in the same situation [with New Orleans].

“I dealt with the same stuff. I had to take over when an older guy went down. In this league, if you are fortunate enough to be a veteran, someone these guys look up to, you have to pay it forward.”

Bushrod has paid it forward, serving as a mentor to both Leno and Long. That added to his emotional investment, particularly with the support he gave Long while the latter was going through first-time struggles after switching to tackle.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” Bushrod said. “I’ve grown close to the guys here. I love this organization and everything it is about. We don’t know how it’s going to shake out, but we’ll see what happens in the future.

“But either way, I’m appreciative of my time here. I’ve cherished my time here. I’ve worked hard and that’s all you can do. This year was tough for me physically, mentally and emotionally, but with the right people around me we got through it.”

Under Center Podcast: Mitchell Trubisky is a Pro-Bowler!

Under Center Podcast: Mitchell Trubisky is a Pro-Bowler!

JJ Stankevitz, Cam Ellis and Paul Aspan wonder if Mitchell Trubisky’s trip to the Pro Bowl can be beneficial. Plus, they talk about the Bears going to London next year and how Ryan Pace can fix issues at kicker and running back in the offseason. You can listen to the whole thing right here, or in the embedded player below:

0:25: What if you had someone who both knew Sean McVay and was friends with Manny Machado? Would they be an NFL head coach or be playing for the White Sox?
1:20: Mitchell Trubisky is a Pro Bowler. Did he deserve it? Does it matter?
6:30: Why it’s cool to see Charles Leno and Cody Whitehair get Pro Bowl nods, too
9:05: The Bears are going to London! Neat opportunity, or cause for concern?
12:45: Did the NFC/AFC Championship games make you think the Bears are closer or farther to the Super Bowl?
15:10: Would you rather your team lose on Cody Parkey’s double-doink or on an absurdly missed pass interference call?
19:10: How should the Bears go about fixing their kicking situation?
23:00: What does Ryan Pace need to do to address the run game?
26:40: Sneaky positions of need for the Bears in 2019

The Bears were the best bet in the NFL this season

The Bears were the best bet in the NFL this season

The Bears were the most profitable NFL team against the spread in the 2018 season. According to The Action Network, the Bears were 12-4 against the spread (ATS), and almost automatic at home, going 7-1 for bettors backing them at Soldier Field.

The NFC Champion Rams, despite going 13-3 during the regular season, were not a great bet, going just 7-7-2 ATS.

The second most profitable teams for bettors backing them? The 13-3 Saints who rewarded bettors with a 10-6 record…and believe it or not, yes, the Cleveland Browns, who despite finishing 7-8-1, also went 10-6 against the spread.