Same job, new co-worker: Bears QB Bagent ready to work with Williams

The Bears sent several players out to meet and help assess No. 1 pick Caleb Williams before the draft.

Backup quarterback Tyson Bagent wasn't one of them. As of Sunday afternoon, Bagent had yet to meet Williams.

“We’ve talked over text message a little bit,” Bagent said. “Seems like a really good dude, seems like he’s excited to get to work, which is all I care about.”

Bagent hosted a free quarterback camp at the Nicholas Sportsplex in Mount Prospect on Sunday with his father, Travis, and brother, Ezra. His camps have been growing in his native West Virginia and the family decided to bring them to Chicago.

“Just a fun thing. No reason really not to do it,” Bagent said. “Get involved in the community here and back at home. Kids come out and sling it a little bit, kind of give them hope they can do what I'm doing someday.”

The Bears quarterback room will be interesting. The team decided last year to invest in Bagent, an undrafted free agent who played in college at Division II Shepherd University. He started four games when Justin Fields was injured and guided the Bears to two victories as a rookie.

Bagent’s job hasn’t changed, other than someone different sitting next to him in the QB room. The Bears added four-year veteran Brett Rypien over the winter, but Bagent seems to be the logical choice to return to the No. 2 spot this season.

So that gives the Bears a rookie and second-year veteran manning the most important position on the field.

“It doesn’t really change for me, I’m just trying to be as prepared as I can,” Bagent said. “Offer the limited knowledge and experience I have to the guy who’s No. 1 and really just be the best version of myself is really the only thing I'm focused on.”

What can Bagent offer Williams when it come to veteran guidance? He has been through an NFL season before, even though he wasn’t a decorated recruit, Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick.

Bagent’s father, Travis, might have the answer. Travis Bagent is well-known as a world champion arm wrestler. He spent Saturday night hosting (and winning) an arm-wrestling tournament at Sideout’s Sports Tavern in Island Lake.

While Tyson is about as chill as a human can be, Travis is loud and the life of the party.

“There’s a few things that I can do: Organize an arm-wrestling tournament, announce a sporting event and run a football camp,” Travis Bagent said Sunday. “At least, a football camp I want my kids to go to.”

Travis Bagent got one of his big breaks in life when he was hired straight out of an arm wrestling tournament to work as an announcer for the Cross-Fit Games on ESPN, starting in 2009. After watching the Cross-Fit athletes in action, Bagent opened his own gym in the family’s garage in West Virginia.

So Tyson grew up doing Cross-Fit, sort of an extreme physical fitness regimen. There are videos on YouTube of Tyson doing so-called Hillbilly Cross-Fit in West Virginia, with improvised equipment.

“If Cross-Fit will teach you one thing, no matter how daunting the situation is, you just keep going,” Travis said. “It’s not like you have to see the finish line to keep working. So that adversity and endurance are maybe the two best attributes Tyson has.

“The work, no matter how bad it is, it’s just work and you just keep moving forward. Before you know it, you have all this endurance. Once you have endurance, it doesn’t matter what happens today, because I’m good. I’m going to come back tomorrow, and I don’t care.”

A nod to Bagent’s initials and Bears jersey number, the inaugural TB17 QB Workout for area teens was held on Sunday at Nicholas Sportsplex in Mount Prospect. Photo by Alexis Kowalsky

It’s not clear if Williams is a fitness fanatic, but Bagent’s rise from West Virginia into the NFL is valuable experience. He had a rough second half at New Orleans last season, but came back the following Thursday to lead the Bears past Carolina.

“If you go too hard, you can’t go any further,” Travis said. “So there's that 85% place that a good Cross-Fitter can kind of set at and he never stops and he can handle a tremendous amount of adversity. Trying to be an NFL quarterback, you’re going to find a ton of obstacles.”

Maybe this is the week Bagent and Williams finally meet. Maybe it happened Monday. Either way, the NFL’s youngest QB room has an interesting journey in store.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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