PALM BEACH, Fla. – No available free agent personified the nasty attitude that general manager Ryan Poles wants Bears offensive lineman to possess more than Lucas Patrick.
The same demeanor that the 6-3, 313-pounder demonstrated on the field the past six seasons with the Packers was evident to Poles two weeks ago during a celebratory phone conversation after a fired-up Patrick had agreed to terms with the Bears.
"The things he was screaming on the phone after we got a deal done kind of showed what he's all about," Poles said with a laugh. "He embodies that. He's a prick, and he knows it, and that's how he survives, and that's what we need up front."
An offensive lineman at Boston College who signed with the Bears as an undrafted rookie in 2008, Poles understands how that type of mentality can spread up front.
"Just doing it myself, that's contagious," Poles said. "Other people either have got to go with it or you just don't fit in. That's going to improve the rest of the group, and we're going to keep adding guys like that."
After Patrick signed with the Bears, Poles described him as a "glue guy in the locker room and on the field" who will "add leadership to our offensive line and raise the standard of how the Chicago Bears will play with grit, tenacity and finish."
Patrick originally signed with the Packers in 2016 as an undrafted free agent—after participating in Green Bay's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. He eventually developed into a full-time starter, opening 15 games in 2020 and 13 in 2021. The Duke product mostly played right guard in 2020 and center in 2021.
Poles confirmed Monday that Patrick will start at center for the Bears.
"I do see him as a center," Poles said. "He has an ability to play guard, but I think the best position is center. Always when you've got guys that can be flexible, you might have to address some things. But that's where he'll start out and we'll see how it goes."
“He’s a prick, and he knows it, and that’s how he survives, and that’s what we need up front.” Bears GM Ryan Poles on free-agent acquisition Lucas Patrick
Patrick is familiar with new Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who spent five of the last six seasons with the Packers, coaching receivers (2016-17) and quarterbacks (2019-21) while also serving as Green Bay's passing game coordinator in 2020-21.
His knowledge of the offense that Getsy will install with the Bears no doubt will enable Patrick to make a smooth transition while also serving as a valuable resource for second-year quarterback Justin Fields and other teammates.
"It'll be big because instead of that gap trying to figure out what he needs to do, he should have a really good foundation of that and then that time can be spent making sure everybody else knows what to do," Poles said.
"Especially at the center position, they make the calls. They make the adjustments. That's going to help Justin out in terms of protections so he knows where his pass rush is coming from. I think that's a big advantage."