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Fired-up Bears begin offseason program

The Bears kicked off their offseason program Tuesday at Halas Hall with a team meeting led by enthusiastic first-year head coach Matt Nagy.

"Hearing coach Nagy's message this morning was unbelievable," said outside linebacker Sam Acho. "He talked about obsession; obsessing over winning, obsessing over being a great teammate, obsessing over doing the best you could possibly do. That's what got me really fired up."

Defensive end Akiem Hicks revealed that Nagy's message to the team was a simple one.

"We're here to win, that's it," Hicks said. "Obsessed about winning, obsessed about your craft, just be better than you were yesterday, and that's our focus."

"He's fired up," new Bears tight end Trey Burton said of Nagy. "He's really excited to be here. He knows that we have a really good chance to have a good season. He just wants to make sure that everybody's on the same page and knows what their role is and things like that."

Take a look at Bears players' first day back at Halas Hall and the team's first workout of the offseason.

Bears chairman George H. McCaskey was also impressed with what Nagy had to say at the team meeting.

"He's such a dynamic presence and so excited and so enthusiastic," McCaskey said. "I think players are really going to pick up on that."

With the offense and defense split into two groups Tuesday, Bears players worked on strength and conditioning in the weight room, met with coaches in classrooms and did conditioning drills inside the Walter Payton Center.

"I'd say that everybody's very, very excited to get started," said guard Kyle Long. "It's a fresh feel and we're all really stoked about it."

"I'm very excited," added running back Tarik Cohen. "Some of the guys I haven't seen since the season ended. It's good to come back and just rekindle that flame."

The Bears' offseason program will continue through the first week of June. In accordance with the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, offseason programs are limited to nine weeks and consist of three phases.

During the first two weeks (Phase 1), activities are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehab, with only strength and conditioning coaches allowed on the field with players. Helmets are prohibited, and footballs are permitted on the field only for quarterbacks throwing to receivers provided they are not covered by other players.

During weeks 3-5 of the program (Phase 2), all coaches are allowed on the field. Workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, but helmets and drills pitting the offense against the defense are prohibited.

The final four weeks (Phase 3) may include up to 10 days of organized team activity (OTA) workouts. All coaches are permitted on the field and players may wear helmets, but one-on-one drills involving the offense and defense are not allowed.

Because they have a new head coach, the Bears are permitted to conduct a voluntary veteran minicamp, which will be open to the media but not the public April 17-19 at Halas Hall.

The Bears will hold their rookie minicamp May 11-13 and conduct 10 OTA practices May 15-17, May 22-24 and May 29-June 1. The team's mandatory full-squad minicamp is scheduled for June 5-7.

With the arrival of Nagy and a slew of free agents, players believe that the Bears will rebound after finishing in last place each of the past four seasons.

"I'm unbelievably confident," Acho said. "You know that you're attacking each day with a purpose, with a passion, with a drive that can't be replaced. I'm excited for today. I'm excited for what we're going to do tomorrow, and I know that all those bricks that you build are going to pay off to build a nice big building."

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