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Free agents lured by culture, chance to win


Three players the Bears landed on the first day of free agency Wednesday were all motivated to join the NFC North champions for the same reason.

Receiver/return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson, running back Mike Davis and nickel back Buster Skrine entered free agency seeking to be part of a team that boasts a winning culture and is in position to contend for a Super Bowl title.

"When my agent gave me the call and said Chicago was interested, I just looked back on the things coach [Matt] Nagy did [last] year, [and] it was a no-brainer for me," Patterson said. "I'm excited and I want to be a Bear."

"It's a team on the rise," Davis said. "They went 12-4 last year. It's a playoff team. … I don't think anybody will sign with a team and just know they're not going to make the playoffs or have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. This team has a lot of talent."

While Patterson won the Super Bowl with the Patriots and Davis reached the postseason with the Seahawks in 2018, Skrine has not made the playoffs in eight NFL seasons with the Browns (2011-14) and Jets (2015-18). The past three years in New York he played on teams that went 5-11, 5-11 and 4-12.

"Chicago is a winning team," Skrine said. "Everybody in the NFL, that's why you play, you play to win and have a chance to play in the playoffs and go to the championship game.

"I'm on my ninth year. and I'm looking to win. That's what I play the game for. I want to be in the playoffs and have a chance. I want to know when I'm training that I'm playing for something."

Patterson, Davis and Skrine all conducted separate conference calls with the media Thursday after signing their contracts at Halas Hall. They shared similar sentiments about how the culture that Nagy helped create in his first season as coach lured them to Chicago.

"I've played with some players that play here now," Skrine said, "[and] they said it's nothing like you've experienced. That pretty much played a part in my decision, and I'm glad I'm here."

"The culture their coach brought in, I wanted to be a part of that culture," Patterson said. "The first time meeting him and talking to him today, I felt like I've known him for 30 years. I was like, 'Do I know this guy?' It's just the way he's ready to work. It felt like he was ready to work today. I could just sense that energy in him."

Nagy was named NFL coach of the year after leading the Bears to their first division championship since 2010. The team had finished in last place in the NFC North each of the previous four years with records of 5-11, 6-10, 3-13 and 5-11.

"I definitely think a lot of players want to play for him," Skrine said. "When you watch the Bears every week on ESPN, it looks like they're having genuine fun and they're winning, and that's what everybody wants, you want to have fun while you're working. At the end of the day, it is a business. But for me, just watching the Bears play last year, I could tell the team enjoyed doing what they were doing."

The combination of Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace has been a winning one for the Bears.

"You just automatically feel their energy," Skrine said. "When you have a conversation with them, you see how happy they are to be the people that are running the organization and how they look forward to the future and having another opportunity. Coming here and feeling that culture, which is hard to find, with people who are just genuinely positive, the team and the culture as a whole is awesome.

"It's a good energy. It takes a team-like atmosphere to be able to win the amount of games they won last year. Me as a player, playing nine years, I've played on some teams with a good atmosphere and I've played on some teams with a bad atmosphere. But I just feel like the culture's right here."