Bears vet­eran mo­ti­vated to join pan­theon of great lineback­ers in fran­chise his­tory

Chicago Sun-Times - - BEARS BEAT - BY PA­TRICK FIN­LEY | pfin­ley@sun­ | @patrick­fin­ley

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.

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