Nagy wants Bears to stop staring at screens, focus on workouts
As unusual as the past three months have been for the Bears, coach Matt Nagy thinks the players and coaches have mastered it to the point where he's calling off the final 10 days of their remote offseason program.
"We've really had a phenomenal nine weeks of virtual learning," Nagy said in a teleconference with reporters. "I'm really proud of our guys for showing up every day, it's all volunteer, and we've done a lot. I think right now emotionally there's been a lot in the last week and a half. On top of that on the football-side, we've done a lot mentally with them."
Nagy is still unsure when players or coaches will be able to return to Halas Hall, or if training camp will be delayed. But he thinks the best way for the players to get ready is to release them from computer screens.
"First of all, the players can focus on training," Nagy said. "That's the one part that's been more difficult is we're not all together. So now they get to not worry about meetings so much Monday through Thursday, but they can really focus on their bodies and training, come into training camp really prepared.
"We have an action plan as to how we're going to stay in touch with them and just communicate and make sure their lives are good, they're in good shape and how they're handling that."
Revisiting the anthem
Several Bears players were asked if they planned to kneel during the national anthem before games this season, in light of what's been happening around the country.
Safety Jordan Lucas, a free-agent addition from Kansas City, said he "110 percent plans to kneel" and added that when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the practice in 2016, he did not participate.
"My rookie year, as many of you can probably guess, I was scared to kneel," Lucas said. "I didn't want to lose my position on the team, I didn't want to be looked at differently just by front office or my coaches because I didn't have a name, I didn't really have a spot on the team. I didn't want to lose anything. I just got there.
"I think a lot of people are seeing now, it's much bigger than the flag and disrespecting the flag. We're not disrespecting the flag nor the military, and I think people are really starting to understand that now."
Safety Buster Skrine suggested whatever happens, the Bears will likely come to a consensus among all players.
"I think we're going to come up with a team decision," Skrine said. "We're going to do it all together, because on the team we're all brothers."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a statement that the league supports peaceful protests, something it did not do with Kaepernick in 2016. Skrine talked about the league possibly taking further steps.
"If someone dies in my family or someone dies in your family, when you approach that person, you're going to watch what you're saying because it's a sensitive subject," Skrine said. "I do think this is a sensitive subject to all races and all cultures. So you can't just go out and not think about what you say before you say it.
"If it does take a little bit longer for them to come out with a game plan, then that's what it is. But I feel like to address the situation and to go back and say, 'Maybe we mishandled players speaking on their positions before all this came out,' that's showing that some change is being made."
Safety Buster Skrine was asked Wednesday to explain why he felt third-year linebacker Roquan Smith is funny.
"I'm from Georgia, he's from Georgia. And I know where he's from, he's from Macon and that's like the super-country side of Georgia," Skrine said. "If Roquan walks in a room, he might do something and guys from the bigger cities, they might think it's funny, but to Roquan, it's the norm.
"If you've ever been around a guy like that, a guy from the country that does thing country-related, that's why I say he's funny."