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Bears' rich tradition important to Nagy

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When the Bears kick off their offseason program Tuesday with a team meeting, the first thing that new head coach Matt Nagy plans to discuss with his players is the past.

"I want the team to understand the team they're playing for and the tradition and the history," Nagy said. "When they step into Halas Hall, understand how fortunate they are. No. 1, they've got to know that. A lot of guys will hear it, but they don't know why and they don't understand it. They're going to understand why it's so important for them to put on the Bears uniform."

It shouldn't be difficult for Nagy to convey the message. Not with a large statue of Bears legend George Halas, who helped create the NFL, just outside the main entrance of Halas Hall. Or plaques of all 27 of the franchise's Hall of Famers, the most of any NFL team, prominently displayed in the lobby.

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Coach Matt Nagy has vowed that the Bears will have fun playing the game.

"For the coaches, for myself, for the players to be able to connect [with the fans] and make it real is very important," Nagy said. "The founding franchise, 1920, the history of coach Halas being an owner, being the founder, being a player, being a coach, how that's gone and how it's still in the family.

"Huge fan base. Passionate. Loyal. Driven. Motivated. Winners. It's a winning city. They need to know that. Let's understand that. Let's do what we need to do."

The second issue that Nagy intends to discuss with players Tuesday is dealing with adversity.

"As we get into who we are as a team, I want them to understand there's going to be ups and downs," Nagy said. "It's going to be a roller coaster. You usually don't go 16-0 and win every game and ride off into the sunset. When bad things happen, when adversity strikes, how do you react to that? The great teams will respond in the right way. They'll have a bunch of leaders on the team that stick together, a bunch of coaches that stick together, that get through that, and they roll."

Nagy will point to the Eagles as an example of a team that did just that. Philadelphia lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a knee injury late last season but still won the Super Bowl.

"They had some down times," Nagy said. "They lost some players. They fought through it. They stuck together, and they then did it and had fun."

Nagy promises that the Bears will have fun playing the game as well.

"You're going to see a group of guys that are enjoying what they're doing," he said. "They're going to enjoy coming to work every single day and working together for that ultimate goal, trying to win a Super Bowl."

While it's difficult to have fun playing for a team that has finished last in the NFC North each of the past four years, Nagy will stress that mantra consistently.

"You have to understand that you come in Day 1 and send that message," he said. "You have to go day-by-day and understand each guy has a role in this process. We know it's been since 2010 that this team has been in the playoffs. That's a long time for that to happen. But there are other teams too that haven't been to the playoffs in that long. So respect that, know where we're coming from and just know it's going to take a little bit of time and be patient with it."

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