Bears nickel back Buster Skrine helped convince safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. to sign with the team. The two played together for three seasons with the Browns from 2012-14 and remain close friends.
"Me and Buster go way back," Gipson said Tuesday during an introductory teleconference call with the media. "Buster is like a brother to me. He's probably the closest guy that I have in the National Football League. Me and Buster go way back to when we were two special-team gunners together back in Cleveland in 2012."
One wall of Gipson's Dallas home is adorned with four framed football jerseys—including one from Skrine when he played for the Jets. Gipson revealed on Tuesday's call that his decision to sign with the Bears was influenced greatly by what his friend had to say about the organization.
"Having a guy like Buster here who's able to tell me and be real about how things are operated and run here was major and it was a key point for me because that's somebody I trusted," Gipson said. "He had nothing but great things to say about the city, about the organization, about the fans, and that made it a whole lot easier.
"I want to play meaningful games and win games. You only get such a small window to be able to play in this league and leave your mark. And being able to play in meaningful games, this is a team that's got everything that you need to be able to truly make a run and I think that that was a major deciding factor for me."
Skrine also lauded the culture at Halas Hall.
"He talked about the coaching staff and how just cool and how just vibrant the atmosphere there is," Gipson said. "Besides everything else, when you walk in the building the biggest thing that you want to do is make sure that you're having fun. This is a kids' game. We've been playing this game since we were kids. At the end of the day, that was the biggest thing for me is when he talked about the coaches and how much he had love for them.
"He said they love their fans here. He said that's the thing about it. Football is football; it's life up here. For him to say, 'Hey man, you're going to love it here, you're going to love the coaches,' he knows the type of personality I've got, and for him to say that it's just big.
"I want to come in somewhere where everything is about winning. We're still having fun. I think that people miss that part of the game. Some teams don't have fun. Being able to come here, have fun and win games, and do what you love to do, do what you've been doing as a kid, was a huge selling point.
"And Chicago, the third most populated city, so it's always going to be just a nice, vibrant situation. It doesn't hurt that the rich history behind the organization, so you know you've got generational fans. It's just an awesome opportunity to walk into and I'm excited, I truly am."
Take a look at new Bears DB Tashaun Gipson Sr. in action during his eight-year NFL career with the Browns, Jaguars and Texans.