Bears fans are most pumped up by all the offseason acquisitions, but there are other reasons to be encouraged.
There are varying degrees of cynic in all of us, especially when it comes to professional athletes. Those reasons for cynicism also vary. But a year ago, many of us were wondering about harmony in the locker room after Lovie Smith — very much a player’s coach — was fired and replaced with a relative unknown coming from the Canadian Football League. There doesn’t seem to be any question now that Marc Trestman has won this team over and perhaps made the locker room even stronger.
Brandon Marshall was the latest to express his admiration for Trestman during Thursday’s press conference surrounding his contract extension. And the cynics will counter with the “what is he supposed to say in public?” argument. But Marshall has also stepped up in his leadership role, starting with his work near his Florida home with Alshon Jeffery a year ago and following that up with Marquess Wilson this offseason. But that wasn’t all.
A handful of Bears joined Marshall for several days in March to not only do some supervised workouts together but also just to hang out. Anyone who follows Marshall on Twitter or Instagram got a peek inside some of the fun they were having, and it was also shared by Jermon Bushrod — and his now-famous group selfie — Matt Forte, Ryan Mundy, Kyle Long and others.
“An Everglades tour, paint-balling,” Marshall told me after Thursday’s presser in a one-on-one visit, part of which will air Sunday night on SportsNet Central. “The best thing was the pottery class we took.”
Huh? I needed to tap into these guys’ inner “Ghost.”
“A bunch of guys made bears. We had a few dragons. We had a few Spidermen, all kinds of action figures," Marshall elaborated. "It was a good deal. We went go-karting, had barbecues, hung out by the pool. That was the best part of the whole trip.”
Marshall shared photos of some of those clay bears on his accounts. They weren’t too bad. More cute than monstrous. Regardless, he’s hoping the camaraderie he’s helped develop is an ingredient that helps these Bears become Monsters again, starting September 7.