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Nagy out of COVID protocol, back with Bears

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Meeting in-person with reporters Thursday, Matt Nagy revealed that he cleared COVID-19 protocol and returned to Halas Hall on Tuesday.

The Bears coach, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive Oct. 25 and spent eight days in quarantine, missing last Sunday's game against the 49ers at Soldier Field.

"We just had our walkthrough," Nagy said. "It was great to be able to get outside to get back out there with them. 

"I was cleared on Tuesday, so I was back in the office Tuesday morning. I was able to get back in here and get back to some quote-unquote normalcy. It was awesome seeing all the coaches and really just kind of getting back on track."

Nagy disclosed Thursday that he quarantined in a hotel room and described what it was like watching the Bears-49ers game on television.

"The setup was pretty simple," he said. "It was being at a hotel and being able to watch the game, and it's weird, it's different. You're doing a lot of sitting on the couch and then able to just Zoom all the time. I've got Zoom and it's good—it saved me—but I'm kind of done with it.

"Watching the game was hard. You don't like it. You just sit there and you watch it and you try to figure out what the play call is and understand, 'OK, oh yeah, it was this play call, good play call,' or it was that. It's just different. It was hard."

Nagy was asked whether he ordered room service during the game.

"No, I didn't eat and I didn't drink," he said. "Nothing. I just sat there, and I was nervous the whole time. I didn't think I was going to be nervous. But I was more nervous than normal. That's just how it was. I had no idea how it was going to go.

"I was writing down play-by-play what happened. You remember a lot more stuff when you write it all down and you're able to look at it in between timeouts and stuff. But it was different; really, really weird."

Quarantining for eight days away from Halas Hall enabled Nagy to retreat and take a panoramic snapshot of his team.

"I talk about it with the staff and the players: What's the 30,000-foot view right now?" Nagy said. "I [got] to step away from being inside the trees, step up and go, 'How's this going? Where are things? And how do I as a leader be able to see where we're at?'

"Heading into that week before playing the game, you've got to handle the weekly stuff. But then at night you get some time to be able to think where you're at, and where you're at as a head coach, where you're at as a person, where you're at as a leader, all that stuff. I really believe that it's going to help me. I used it as best I could to reflect on a lot of stuff.

"The biggest thing is understanding that I can't and we can't control 'before.' We can't control what's going on and what's going to happen in the future, win or losing games and stuff like that, injuries, etc. We have to worry about today. I believe that, I don't just say that. That's real. You've got to stay in the moment."

For the Bears (3-5), staying in the moment means finding a way to snap a three-game losing streak Monday night when they visit the resurgent Steelers (4-3) in Pittsburgh.

"There's definite urgency, and I think that that's OK," Nagy said. "You need to have that … We have this game coming up and we have a bye and then you have eight games after that. But the only thing that matters is making sure that we get that win. The wins change everything.

"Look at the Steelers. They started out 1-3. Here they are 4-3. They've won three in a row. They fought through it. They probably have pretty good leaders, probably have guys that care about playing. And they don't point fingers, they don't blame, they're not negative. They're positive. We've got a positive room in there. The players are positive. They care.

"We want to start a different streak. Let's win one and then win another and continue to go and see where it leads. That's kind of the mindset that we have."

The Bears hit the practice fields on a brisk afternoon at Halas Hall to continue preparing for Monday night's matchup with the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

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