After a resurgent 2018 season, a hungry group of Bears gathered at an expanded Halas Hall Monday for the start of the team's voluntary offseason program.
"Empty stomach right now," said veteran inside linebacker Danny Trevathan. "Guys are hungry, man. You've got guys in there busting their tails. You see all the work they've been putting in because they know the expectations are high."
Bears players reunited Monday for the first time since early January after a magical 12-4 season had ended abruptly with a crushing playoff loss to the Eagles. They arrived at a sparkling new Halas Hall that has doubled in size via a massive renovation that is nearing completion.
"Those three months really flew by," said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. "It felt like the first day of school getting back. Excited to see all your friends and buddies. Just an amazing vibe in the building, especially when you head into the new facility. Absolutely beautiful and it just feels awesome to be back around the guys. Everyone is very, very excited—as am I—and we just can't wait to get things rolling. It was a great Day 1."
With the offense and defense split into two groups Monday, Bears players worked on strength and conditioning in the weight room, met with coaches in classrooms and ran inside the Walter Payton Center.
"We're really excited to get back into it," said tight end Trey Burton. "We had a good season last year. We want to build on that and hopefully we can."
After a worst-to-first turnaround that resulted in their first NFC North title and playoff appearance since 2010, the Bears are determined to take the next step this season.
"I think we surprised a lot of people, but we didn't surprise ourselves," Trubisky said. "We're a very highly-motivated team and we played hard and we played together. I think we just got a little taste of what this team can accomplish and hopefully that motivates us even more—I know for me it definitely does. We're just going to continue to push the envelope, get better and better, come together closer as a team and continue to work as hard as we possibly can to get that final goal."
Achieving that final goal would enable the Bears to avenge last season's first-round playoff exit.
"There's a lot of hunger," said center Cody Whitehair. "Obviously it ended a little too short last year, so hopefully we can get started back on the foot we left off on, and I think the sky's the limit for this team this year."
Bears Players returned to Halas Hall to start the 2019 offseason workout program.