TREVATHAN HAS LEGACY ON HIS MIND
Bears veteran motivated to join pantheon of great linebackers in franchise history
Linebacker Danny Trevathan considers his fiancée his backbone, which is why he couldn’t stop thinking about her when he was considering whether to play for the Bears this season. She has chronic asthma, which the Centers for Disease Control says could put her at increased risk for a severe illness as a result of the coronavirus.
‘‘That’s going in your mind because you [were] hearing so many different things about the virus,’’ Trevathan said on a video call Friday. ‘‘They start talking about the effects of it . . . .
‘‘I took it into consideration just because of her and her sacrifice and how important family is. And how important she is to me.’’
Before deciding to play — Trevathan didn’t opt out by the NFL’s deadline Thursday — he wanted to experience the safety precautions at Halas Hall.
‘‘I had to see it firsthand, so I came in, and I feel like they did a pretty good job handling the situation,’’ he said. ‘‘You know, this thing is so wild . . . . It definitely made me nervous a little bit. But I feel like I made the right decision.’’
He has something to chase.
‘‘I want to be remembered,’’ he said. ‘‘Legacy lives on forever.’’
Entering his ninth season, Trevathan is at the point in his career when he can consider such things. He won the Super Bowl in February 2016 with the Broncos and immediately signed a four-year deal with the Bears. In March, he signed a rare third long-term contract — for $21.75 million over three years. Its structure all but guarantees he’ll be with the Bears through at least 2021.
By staying in Chicago, Trevathan has given himself a chance to join the Bears’ great linebacker tradition. The fastest way to do that is to win. Doing so this season would be an even greater accomplishment, considering the Bears are coming off an 8-8 season and, because of their quarterback concerns, have little to no title buzz.
‘‘I want to be up there,’’ he said. ‘‘And to do that, I have to make plays. A Super Bowl would definitely put a stamp on that. And, you know, you gotta have a great team,
man. I feel like we’re in the right situation.’’
Inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone knows what motivates Trevathan.
‘‘There’s things guys want in their careers: You want to win a Super Bowl, you want to get paid a lot of money, you want to make 100 tackles, you want to have all these different things, right?’’ DeLeone said. ‘‘Danny is kind of at a point in his career right now [where] he’s won a Super Bowl, he’s made a lot of money, he’s made a lot of plays . . . .
‘‘I know this is something that I have talked to him about. He’s at a point now in his career where his legacy is very important to him.’’ There must be a season first, of course. Trevathan said he has found the Bears’ coronavirus protocols essential but bizarre.
‘‘I don’t like getting stuff in my nose,’’ he said of the tests.
He’s among the players preaching selfdiscipline to avoid a teamwide infection. He sounds a lot like coach Matt Nagy, who has begun to coach public-health precautions the way he would conditioning or learning the playbook.
‘‘Everybody’s gotta be accountable; everybody’s gotta be responsible,’’ Trevathan said. ‘‘Think about the next man’s family as well as yours. Because you don’t want anybody coming in there sick, and then you end up getting sick and take it back home to your family. That’s just not a good feeling or a good situation. So the downtime is when you really have to be a pro. You’ve got to cover yourself and take it seriously. One slip-up, and it can spread like wildfire.’’
Trevathan said he was just starting to play well in the Bears’ new defensive scheme last season — ‘‘Just touching the tip of the ’berg,’’ he said — when he dislocated his left elbow against the Lions in Week 10.
Availability remains a concern this season. He has played in all 16 games in only one of his four seasons with the Bears and has missed a total of 18 games.
He’s effective when healthy. He ranks 33rd in tackles since 2016, but no one above him has played in fewer games than his 46.
No one memorizes tackle totals, though. Legacy is based on victories.
‘‘There’s no place in the NFL that has linebacker tradition like the Chicago Bears,’’ DeLeone said. ‘‘And I think that really means something to Danny — to go down in history as one of the great Bears linebackers.’’ ✶
‘‘Everybody’s gotta be accountable; everybody’s gotta be responsible. Think about the next man’s family as well as yours.’’ Danny Trevathan
Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan signed a three-year, $21.75 million contract in March to stay with the Bears. Its structure all but guarantees he will be with them through at least 2021.
Trevathan (shown making a tackle last season against the Lions at Soldier Field) suffered a dislocated left elbow in Week 10 in 2019.