After skipping the entire offseason program—including a mandatory minicamp—Robert Quinn is back at Halas Hall participating in training camp.
The Bears defensive end reported to the facility with the rest of his veteran teammates Tuesday and joined them on the field for the first practice Wednesday.
Quinn told reporters that he wants to remain with the Bears and did not request a trade, saying: "I never expected to go anywhere."
Quinn signed with the Bears in 2020 after spending his first nine NFL seasons with the Rams (2011-17), Dolphins (2018) and Cowboys (2019). Last year he set a franchise record with 18.5 sacks. When he failed to attend minicamp in June, there was speculation that he was unhappy with his situation in Chicago. But Quinn denied that was the reason he was a no-show.
"[It was] more just trying to take care of my body, get myself right mentally," he said. "It's my 12th year. I kind of knew what to expect from that."
While Quinn wants to remain with the Bears, he understands that the NFL is a business. It's a lesson he learned in 2018 when he was traded from the Rams to the Dolphins and again in 2019 when he was dealt from the Dolphins to the Cowboys.
"You get tired of moving," Quinn said. "I thought I did a good job last year, but I guess I'll just continue to try to re-prove myself. I expect to be here, but I guess if not, well, that's out of my control. I'm just going to take it day-by-day and have fun here with the guys and just let life take its course."
“You can’t play this game if you’re not happy to be here because it’s one of the roughest games out there.” Bears DE Robert Quinn
Quinn doesn't intend to worry about the possibility of being traded.
"The only thing I can control is myself," he said. "Whether I'm in this building or whatever building I'm in, all I can do is bring the best version of myself and keep the positive energy around. If you think about all the what-ifs, honestly, you're going to start bringing in some negative energy in the building. I've seen it before, and it's not a good thing. I'm just trying to walk in with a positive spirit and get myself prepared for the season as a Chicago Bear and just going to take life as it comes."
Quinn left no doubt that he's buying in completely to the Bears' new regime, which is led by general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus.
"You can't play this game if you're not happy to be here because it's one of the roughest games out there," Quinn said. "Every day you've got to buy in to be able to give the best of yourself. That's all I'm trying to do every time I step into the building. I'm just trying to bring the best version of myself."
Quinn is one of only a few veterans the Bears have retained on defense. During the offseason, the team said goodbye to outside linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan.
"You wish guys could stay in one place forever," Quinn said. "But at the end of the day, before you play, you've got to sign a contract. That just lets you know how it's a business, how this game works."
While the Bears are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, Quinn anticipates making a smooth adjustment, having played in similar schemes with the Rams and Cowboys.
"Knowing the type of defense we're running, I'm very familiar with it," he said. "Knock on wood, I plan to be successful for my personal self. I know what I'm coming into and that takes weight off your shoulder. You're not coming into the building not knowing what's about to happen. I'm walking in here knowing exactly what they want from me, exactly what they expect from me and what I need to do. That makes life a whole lot easier when you're not walking in confused."
After missing the offseason program, Quinn was eased back into action during the first training camp practice Wednesday.
"He hasn't done a lot with our program and all that," Eberflus said. "So, he did some individual [drills] and we will just work him up as we go. It was exciting to see him out there. His body feels great. His mind is good. He's ready to go."
The Bears hit the fields at Halas Hall on Wednesday for the first practice of Enjoy Illinois Training Camp where they welcomed about 30 groups, including the Highland Park High School football team, as part of "Community Day."