Bears

Bears training camp notes: Robert Quinn returns to the practice field

Chicago Bears pass rusher Robert Quinn during a game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 in Minneapolis.

LAKE FOREST – Robert Quinn believed 18.5 sacks guaranteed him some job security.

Under normal circumstances, it would have, but these weren’t normal circumstances. The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy and replaced them with GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus. Poles quickly took the team in a new direction, trading Khalil Mack and signaling his plan to build for the future.

That future probably doesn’t include the 32-year-old Quinn – at least not for long. There was much speculation after the Mack trade that Quinn might be next. When Quinn didn’t show up for organized team activities or mandatory minicamp, that only added fuel to the fire.

“I’ve been traded twice,” Quinn said Wednesday. “You get tired of moving. I thought I did a good job last year, but I guess I’ll just continue to try to re-prove myself. I expect to be here, but I guess if not, well, that’s out of my control.”

Quinn said his decision to skip mandatory minicamp in the spring was all about doing what was best for his body. He was OK with being fined for his absence. When Poles met with the media Tuesday, he said he hadn’t had any discussions with Quinn about a potential trade.

That doesn’t mean that a trade won’t emerge. Quinn’s trade value never will be higher than after an 18.5-sack season. If a team is willing to part with a draft pick in exchange for Quinn, the Bears just might do it.

It’s probably going to take some time. Training camp has only just begun. Most teams across the league are healthy right now. That will change once the season starts. Quinn could be highly sought after come the trade deadline in early November.

When the first practice of training camp began Wednesday, Quinn was on the field. Quinn isn’t holding out for a trade or a release, even as his teammate Roquan Smith holds out for a new deal.

“I’m here,” Quinn said. “So I mean, whatever I planned, I’m here. That’s what it is.”

Eberflus said he communicated with Quinn numerous times over the course of the summer. Keeping Quinn on the roster would be a huge boost for Eberflus and his new 4-3 defensive scheme. Quinn is the highest-profile pass rusher the Bears have. If he were to be traded, there would be a sizable void at the position.

“He feels great,” Eberflus said. “His body feels great. His mind is good. He’s ready to go.”

Asked if he wanted to play for a team more likely to contend, Quinn deflected the question. Several times Wednesday he reiterated that it’s all out of his control.

“If you think about all the what-ifs, honestly, you’re going to start bringing some negative energy in the building,” Quinn said. “I’ve seen it before, and it’s not a good thing.”

Participation: In addition to Quinn, pass rusher Al-Quadin Muhammad and cornerback Kyler Gordon – who both sat out portions of the spring – participated in practice.

Smith was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday morning and did not participate.

Two new free-agent acquisitions on the offensive line, Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield, participated in individual drills but were not yet included in 11-on-11 action. Eberflus said those players will ramp up their participation as they learn the playbook.

Fire sale: The Bears must have had a stockpile of old Mitchell Trubisky No. 10 jerseys because they were selling them at training camp Wednesday for $20 a pop. Khalil Mack jerseys also were available.

For an organization that talks about heading in a new direction under new football leadership, it seemed like a curious choice. Trubisky hasn’t played for the Bears in more than a year.

Highland Park visitors: Wednesday’s practice wasn’t open to the public, but the Bears did host more than 60 nonprofit organizations, as well as the Highland Park High School football team, among other groups.

The Highland Park football players had a chance to meet the Bears after practice. The Bears and the NFL donated to the Highland Park Community Foundation after the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.