After a one-year hiatus from coaching, it’s evident that new Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is thrilled to be back doing what he loves.
“He’s completely recharged,” said coach Matt Nagy. “That guy rides a Peloton bike like you wouldn’t believe. He’s a maniac. Every morning that’s the first thing he does, at like 4:30 a.m. in the morning.”
Although Pagano gets an extremely early start, his enthusiasm for his new role never wanes throughout the course of the day.
“He’s just such a positive human being,” Nagy said. “He’s about being optimistic. He’s about being real. He’s about being honest. He’s about treating people the right way. When you do that, and it’s not fabricated, it’s not made up, it’s not fake, the trust and the belief that your players have with you as a coach happen so much quicker.
“He has a challenge of defense. We have a challenge on defense. But there’s no one in this league that wants to attack something as aggressive as what coach Chuck does.”
Creating a legacy: After current Bears players interacted with Hall of Famers and other former greats at the Bears100 Celebration Weekend, Nagy had a message for his team Tuesday.
“They have the ability to create our own legacy,” Nagy said. “And it’s not about being better than any other team that was ever here. It’s about just carrying on that tradition and making that jersey better than what it was when you put it on the first time you came here and treating it like a treasure.
“We all respect the tradition and we respect the history and we want that to keep coming back.”
Band of brothers: Nagy has welcomed Bears alumni back to Halas Hall frequently since he was hired as coach in 2018. That was the case again Tuesday as more than 20 former players watched the team’s minicamp practice.
The group included Erik Kramer, Mike Brown, Anthony Morgan, James “Big Cat” Williams, Al Harris, Jimbo Covert, Tom Thayer, Emery Moorehead, Ahmad Merritt and James Thornton.
“It really was nice,” Thornton said, “I talked to [Nagy] Friday night at the Celebration. He had a few of us come in when the rookie class came in this year; we had a dinner here at Halas Hall and we were able to actually get up and speak.
“I wish I would have had that when I came in. It goes a long way to hear from some guys that have been here, that have gone through it, maybe some of the things that you can expect. I think that has great value. So I thanked him for that and I really appreciate his openness to including us and having us be around and be a part of the practices.”
Other visitors: The Bears also welcomed 11 families of fallen soldiers to Tuesday’s practice. The team worked in conjunction with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which offers compassionate care to those grieving the loss of a loved one who died while serving in the Armed Forces.
Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24/7 through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones. TAPS has assisted more than 85,000 surviving families, casualty officers and caregivers.