LAKE FOREST – Trevis Gipson has a long memory. What drives him today is the same thing that drove him six years ago.
“It’s the one offer that I had coming out of high school,” the Bears’ outside linebacker said. “I really felt overlooked. I’ve been going on a revenge tour.”
Gipson never forgot that Tulsa was the only school that gave him a chance. He was a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports, coming out of Cedar Hills, Texas, in 2015.
He came from an athletic family. His grandfather, Tom Gipson, played in the NFL briefly with the Raiders in 1971. His father, Thomas, played college basketball at Texas and North Texas. His older brother, also Thomas, played basketball at Kansas State and still plays professionally overseas.
Trevis followed his football dreams and went to the one school that took a chance on him. By his senior season, he had taken on a starring role, recording eight sacks in 12 games in 2019. It earned him a fifth-round draft selection by the Bears in 2020.
This week, he has a chance to earn his first NFL start against the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu went on injured reserve last week with a pectoral injury. This week, the Bears placed Robert Quinn on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The next man up, if Quinn is unable to play, would be Gipson.
“The expectations are what they are,” Gipson said. “I’m going to keep playing with confidence, keep playing with a chip on my shoulder. As far as the opportunity, it’s another one that’s given to me, and it’s another one that I plan on taking advantage of.”
Gipson has played in five games this season and has two sacks and three tackles for loss. He also has forced one fumble and defended two passes.
It’s possible Quinn could be back. At this point, it’s unclear if Quinn has tested positive for the virus or if he is a close contact with someone who has. If he is vaccinated and returns two negative COVID-19 tests more than 24 hours apart, he could return.
If he’s unvaccinated, the wait could be longer. Per NFL protocols, an unvaccinated positive test requires a minimum 10-day absence. An unvaccinated close contact requires a minimum five-day absence. Quinn went on the COVID-19 list Tuesday.
There’s a chance Quinn could be back, but it’s highly uncertain. That’s going to hurt the Bears because Quinn has been so good this season. His 5.5 sacks this season are tied for ninth in the NFL.
Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai feels pretty confident Gipson could step in and give the Bears valuable minutes.
“Everybody who’s practiced with us for a while has the endurance,” Desai said. “I don’t even understand what starters’ snaps means because anybody that plays in the game, the expectation’s the same whether you play play one or play 80. The expectation’s the same. Yes, he can give us snaps that we want, and he’s shown that.”
Outside linebacker Khalil Mack has been on the injury report yet again because of a foot injury, but he will most likely play. Mack didn’t practice at all last week and still played against Green Bay on Sunday. Gipson has learned a lot from studying the way Mack and Quinn approach the game.
Quinn and Mack were having a blast cheering for Gipson two weeks ago when Gipson recorded a sack against the Raiders.
“They’ve seen my progress from last year to this year,” Gipson said. “So it’s good seeing it pay off, but it’s a lot more work to be done. They always help me with that. They always critique me in the film room. There are plenty of things that they help put on my plate and help me get done.”