With veteran outside linebacker Robert Quinn still on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Trevis Gipson could see expanded playing time Sunday when the Bears visit the Buccaneers in Tampa. But the 2020 fifth-round draft pick isn't changing his approach.
"The expectations are what they are," Gipson said. "I'm going to keep playing with confidence, keep playing with a chip on my shoulder. As far as the opportunity, it's another one that's given to me, and it's another one that I plan on taking advantage of."
The chip on Gipson's shoulder—it's probably more accurate to describe it as a boulder—stems from when he played football at Cedar Hill High School in Texas and received only one college scholarship offer—from Tulsa.
"I really felt overlooked," Gipson said. "I've been going on a revenge tour.
"My dream school was Texas Tech, but Tulsa was the only one who had enough faith in me, and I'm appreciative of them. They gave me that one shot, and I haven't looked back ever since."
Gipson was a two-year starting defensive end at Tulsa, where he earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors as a senior in 2019 after setting career highs with 49 tackles, eight sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss. As a junior, he registered 46 tackles, four sacks and nine tackles-for-loss.
Converted to outside linebacker with the Bears, Gipson's transition as a rookie initially wasn't easy, primarily because all offseason workouts and preseason games were cancelled due to COVID-19. But after a full year and offseason under his belt, the 6-4, 263-pounder has emerged as a regular contributor on defense in his second NFL season.
Since he was a healthy Week 2 scratch, Gipson has recorded nine tackles, 2.0 sacks, three tackles-for-loss, two pass breakups and one forced fumble in four games.
Asked to identity his greatest area of growth, he said: "Probably my confidence."
"The more reps I've gotten in this preseason and the beginning of this season is just giving me more and more faith that I can dominate this game," Gipson said. "Overall, that's a goal of mine that I want to achieve."
“As far as the opportunity, it’s another one that’s given to me, and it’s another one that I plan on taking advantage of.” Bears OLB Trevis Gipson
In Quinn and fellow veteran outside linebacker Khalil Mack, Gipson has a pair of excellent role models to learn from. Entering Week 7, Mack (6.0) and Quinn (5.5) had combined for 11.5 sacks, the highest total by any two teammates in the NFL.
"They've helped me get to where I am now," Gipson said. "They've seen my progress from last year to this year. So, it's good seeing it pay off, but there's a lot more work to be done. They always critique me in the film room. There are plenty of things that they help put on my plate and help me get done."
The Bears hit the practice fields at Halas Hall Wednesday ahead of Sunday afternoon's game against the Buccaneers in Tampa.