During the offseason, Danny Trevathan added boxing to his training regimen to help maximize his performance on the football field.
"Every game is a title fight," said the Bears veteran linebacker. "I just wanted to incorporate some stuff that I heard around the league that was real good; that it was good cardio and it works everything. I tried to get that into my workout and it worked really well for me, so I'm expecting to continue that through the season."
Trevathan feels that boxing strengthens his core, improves his balance and ability to strike, and fights fatigue. "That's something you get through boxing," said the 11th-year pro. "You have to keep going round [after] round [after] round."
The boxing workouts clearly helped transform Trevathan's body. "He got into major shape," said coach Matt Nagy. "The dude is ripped, and he's ready to go."
The Bears are confident that Trevathan will be ready to go when they kick off the regular season Sept. 12 against the Rams. Last year, the veteran linebacker didn't perform as well as he usually does in the first few games, which could have been due to an unusual ramp-up period. Because of COVID-19, all offseason workouts and preseason games were cancelled for the first time in NFL history.
Trevathan rebounded last season, ultimately finishing second on the Bears with 113 tackles, his second highest total since he entered the NFL with the Broncos in 2012.
"Last year was last year; I'm not really worried about that," Trevathan said. "But I know what to do this year and I'm working my tail off. I know what I expect of myself and I know what my team needs of me and I'm going to give them all of that."
Trevathan is especially excited to team with rising NFL star Roquan Smith at inside linebacker for a fourth consecutive season.
Last year, Smith finished seventh in the league with a career-high and team-leading 139 tackles, second with 96 solo tackles and tied for second with 18 tackles-for-loss—the most TFLs by a Bears player since Hall of Fame middle linebacker Brian Urlacher had 19 in 2002. Smith was also the only NFL player to record at least 100 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, two sacks and two interceptions. Yet despite those accomplishments, he was not voted to the Pro Bowl.
"He was probably one of the best linebackers to ever play last year," Trevathan said. "I know he doesn't get a lot of credit. He doesn't really buy into all of that. But I'm going to say it for him. I know this year he's looking forward to taking all of that, and I'm looking forward to rocking with him and being the best linebackers out there."
After the Bears selected Smith with the eighth pick in the first round of the 2018 draft, Trevathan immediately took his young teammate under his wing.
"It's been a blessing," Trevathan said. "When I came into the league, I wanted to learn from other people, and I tried to take everything I learned from them and tried to pass it on, and that's what they told me to do.
"Just to see [Smith excel], it makes me feel great as a person, as his brother, and I'm sure he's got a lot more in his chamber, just like us. I'm looking forward to playing with him, and I'm sure he's going to be putting on a show."
As the Bears prepare for their first season under defensive coordinator Sean Desai, Nagy is happy that Trevathan remains an integral part of the unit.
"He's a guy that I have so much respect for," Nagy said. "We have a really good relationship. When we go through tough times, I go to him a lot. That's the intangible side. The physical side of being an inside linebacker and him accepting the passing of the torch to Roquan is another part of this. But for him specifically this year, the acceptance of him doing that, helping Roquan grow, but also doing his role within this defense and what Sean wants to do is going to be important."
Trevathan, who helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in 2015, feels blessed to be beginning his 10th NFL season, especially after entering the league with Denver as an unheralded sixth-round draft pick from Kentucky.
"It's all glory to God, first of all," Trevathan said. "But it just goes to show, no matter how you get in, it's all about how you finish. Don't ever let nobody stop you. I was [picked] 188. I carry that with me right now, and it's still pushing me.
"I'm not finished yet, and it feels great, where I'm at right now. It feels great to have this defense and the team rocking right now. The [front office] of the Bears organization, they're doing a great job of getting guys in here and still holding us accountable and having us go out here and work hard, and I'm looking forward to this year."
The Bears welcomed fans back to Soldier Field on Tuesday for Meijer Chicago Bears Family Fest, which was highlighted by the team's first padded practice of the preseason.