The aftermath of a disappointing season had some good and some bad news for a group that was the foundation of the best Bears offense in decades.
First came the four-year contract for left guard Matt Slauson, a fixture on an offensive line that had the same five starters for 16 games.
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The group might have had the same five for every 2013 snap but for a bizarre foot injury that downed right tackle Jordan Mills after one series of the Green Bay game.
Mills underwent surgery on Friday, according to a get-well tweet from teammate Matt Forte:
Y'all pray for my boy @JordanMills_67 getting surgery today. Minor setback for a major comeback. God Bless— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) January 3, 2014
With the Slauson re-signing, the Bears have four of their starting five in place for at least the next three years. It is the kind of continuity that breeds cohesion, which breeds success.
The Bears had the same starting five for 17 of 19 games, including playoffs, in their 2006 Super Bowl season. That is the target now, in more ways than one.
“This group is incredible,” Slauson said. “They work so incredibly hard. I actually told [coach Marc] Trestman that one of the first days I was here, I have never seen anything like this – the way that this team works, the tenacity, the constant effort, it’s incredible.”
The remaining piece to secure is center Roberto Garza, credited with bringing together a unit that had two veterans on the left and two rookies on the right.
“I’ve let Roberto know that I was proud of his season and obviously we will work through it, but we would like him back,” said GM Phil Emery. “And I’m sure he’ll have some choices to make and we’ll see how it goes. But very pleased with his season.
“He’s obviously very important in terms of calling signals for our offensive line and making point adjustments. He did a lot of good things. Obviously there are some dynamics about where he’s at in his career. He’s 35-years-old, not to get too far into the discussion. But Roberto knows that we want him to come back.”