The newest Bears players made a special trip back to the future last Friday, visiting the franchise's iconic former home.
The entire Bears rookie class bused from Halas Hall to Wrigley Field, where they attended a Cubs afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds.
After arriving at the Friendly Confines—the Bears' home stadium for 50 seasons from 1921-70—the rookies were given Cubs jerseys with their last names and numbers on the back.
They were then led out onto the playing surface through the same doorway in the left field corner that Bears players had passed through from their locker room to the field for decades.
The group walked en masse out onto the pitching mound, where first-round pick Darnell Wright and second-round selection Gervon Dexter Sr. threw ceremonial first pitches.
"It was really fun," said Wright, an offensive tackle from Tennessee. "It was cool to do. The other week I went to the White Sox game and it was fun as well. It was a cool experience."
Dexter revealed that not only was it the first time he threw a pitch from a mound, but it was the first time he had ever touched a baseball in his life.
"I was always too locked in on basketball and football to play baseball," said Dexter, a defensive tackle who grew up in Florida and attended the University of Florida. "Those guys are unbelievable athletes. I never understood how far the mound was from the batter. It's a pretty good distance. I thought it was shorter."
Check out the Bears rookie class head to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs take on the Cincinnati Reds. Offensive lineman Darnell Wright and defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr. threw out the ceremonial first pitches before the game.
When receiver Tyler Scott was a kid, his father often showed him highlights of Gale Sayers—frequently in games that were played at Wrigley Field. One of those contests was on Dec. 12, 1965, when the Hall of Fame running back and return specialist tied an NFL record by scoring six touchdowns in a rout of the 49ers.
"One of my favorite players growing up was Gale Sayers, and I know he played in this stadium once upon a time," said Scott, a fourth-round pick. "It's pretty cool that [Wrigley Field] has so much history with baseball but also football. I was actually talking to one of my track coaches from back in the day. I texted him that I was going to the Cubs game. He said, 'Man, make sure you send me a picture because going to a Cubs game is kind of the rite of passage into Chicago.'"
The trip was an opportunity for the Bears rookies to continue bonding as a group. They watched the game from a suite along the first-base line, feasting on hot dogs and mini-Buffalo chicken sandwiches.
"It was good coming with these guys," Dexter said. "We've formed a pretty good relationship already. But just doing stuff like this is only going to make it better."
"It's a good bonding [experience]," Scott said. "You get to spend time outside of football; it's not just X's and O's type stuff. You've got a lot of guys who have said this is their first baseball game. They're kind of lucky, too, because at their first baseball game they got to go out on the mound at such a historic stadium like Wrigley Field and experience that whole feeling."