As the Bears wrapped up the last of their pre-training camp practices, beginning with three voluntary sessions in the days prior to draft in late April and on through this week’s mandatory minicamp, coach John Fox made it apparent that he will not be looking over their shoulders in the six weeks between now and the July 29 start of Bourbonnais camp.
But he also made it clear that he doesn’t want to hear of miscreant behavior from a team still in its formative stages.
“I’ve been saying for a long time and I said it again today: ‘I don’t want to read about you unless you win the lottery,’” Fox said, smiling, sort of. “Just make good decisions and that’s no different off the field than it is on the field. You’re trying to play smart, tough and better-conditioned football, and same thing off the field.
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“You hope you don’t see your head of security or your PR guy on your phone over the break. But I think these guys have conducted themselves well and will continue to moving forward.”
Wide receiver Eddie Royal played for Fox in 2011, Fox’s first and Royal’s last with the Denver Broncos. Royal came in under Mike Shanahan in Denver, then played for Norv Turner in San Diego in 2012, followed by Fox’s former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who replaced Turner in 2013 and coached Royal last year as well.
Royal has some perspective on Fox’s handling of this team.
“He’s the perfect guy for our team, exactly what we need,” Royal said on Thursday. “He’s firm when he needs to be but also laid back at the same time. He’s a proven winner.”
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The final minicamp did not necessarily leave Fox and his staff wishing there was more time to handle installations of schemes on offense, defense and special teams. His opinion is that players can be over-practiced.
But he does know what can happen once players scatter across the country away from the structure that the team provides.
“I’ve got four children and every time they leave the house it’s the same feeling,” Fox said. “Not comparing [players] to children but it’s a big responsibility and I expect them to conduct themselves well whether it’s on or off the field.”