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Mingo plays important role for Bears

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The Bears didn't bring in Barkevious Mingo as a rushing threat, but his 11-yard first-down on a fake punt against the Tennessee Titans was an example of why the outside linebacker has stuck in the league for eight seasons and counting.

Mingo came to Chicago to make a difference as a reserve linebacker and special teams player. As a top-notch athlete once thought to have Khalil Mack/Robert Quinn-level potential, he has instead made his way as a dedicated professional who focuses on the little things.

Still, in the aftermath of his first career carry, he made sure to bask in the moment and describe the entire play to outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino.

"He remembered it just like all of us do when something great happens," said Monachino. "You remember every little detail of it. So it took him about a minute-and-a-half to describe the play."

Monachino has a strong relationship with Mingo, whom he previously coached in 2017 for the Indianapolis Colts. Mingo's familiarity with Monachino and defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano helped him find a home in Chicago.

"[Monachino] knows how to get the most out of his players," said Mingo. "He knows their strong suits and how to put you in those positions to maximize your ability and showcase your talent."

This season, Mingo started three games as Robert Quinn worked himself back from an injury. He has remained a factor on defense while playing an expanded role on special teams.

"He is a niche guy that has a certain set of skills that we like to use as often as we can," said Monachino. "That's the goal with all of them, to get them doing what they do best most often and find those roles that we can fill those situations with. Barkevious understands that completely."

Mingo has not been a full-time starter since 2018, but he works to be ready when called upon.

"He is prepared like a starter every week," said Monachino, "not only in our meetings and the things that we do in the building but the things that he does as a pro. He is valuable. The things that he brings to our room and our defense are very valuable. Really proud to have him with us, and not surprised at all that he's playing well."

Mingo's stay in Chicago marks his sixth team in six seasons. He has played in various defenses and under several different coaches, including the Super Bowl-winning 2016 New England Patriots. His experience has broadened his view of the game.

"I've learned that there is no one way that works best," said Mingo, "I've played for different coaches, for [differently]-run programs. You see that some people think that you have to it this way, but some people do it this way. You see that no one way works."

Now, halfway through his eighth season, Mingo sees the game differently than he did as a younger player, learning to let the opportunities come to him.

"You learn that, in order to go fast, you have to have to slow down," said Mingo, "You slow down what the offense is doing and react to what's happening. That allows you to play better."

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