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Trubisky having time of his life at Pro Bowl


ORLANDO – Judging by the smile that's been plastered on Mitchell Trubisky's face since he arrived in Florida earlier this week, the Bears quarterback is enjoying every minute of his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

Trubisky was named to the NFC roster Monday in place of the Rams' Jared Goff, who is preparing to play in the Super Bowl. The Bears have an NFL-high seven players at the Pro Bowl—all of whom are making their first appearances in the all-star game.

An eighth Bears player, outside linebacker Khalil Mack, was voted to the Pro Bowl but is unable to participate in Sunday's game at Camping World Stadium due to an injury.

"It's awesome to be here this week," Trubisky said. "We had dinner with all the guys, had a good time hanging out. It's really just like having a family atmosphere having those guys down here with me."

Trubisky received the good news Monday via a phone call from coach Matt Nagy while the quarterback was eating lunch with Bears teammate Benny Cunningham in Nashville. At first, Trubisky thought that Nagy was joking.

"I was like, 'No, stop it, stop messing with me,'" Trubisky said. "I legit told him to stop a hundred times. He's like, 'No, I'm serious,' So I was like, 'I'm there, can't wait.' It's really a dream come true to be here, so I'm just going to soak it all up and have a lot of fun."

Later Monday, Trubisky found out Bears center Cody Whitehair and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. were also being added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster.

"I think I was more excited that they got the call than when I got the call and that's hard to believe because you can ask coach Nagy how excited I was on the phone," Trubisky said.

"Cody called me and I started going nuts. I said, 'I'll see you in Orlando.' Those guys deserve it. They protected me all year, put their bodies on the line every single Sunday for me. For them to get the recognition that they finally deserve is awesome to see. They're amazing dudes."

Trubisky and fellow 2017 draft picks Eddie Jackson and Tarik Cohen give the Bears three Pro Bowlers from the same draft class for the first time since the 1983 crop produced four in tackle Jimbo Covert, safety Dave Duerson, defensive end Richard Dent and guard Mark Bortz.

The Bears traded up one spot to select Trubisky with the second overall pick, moved up to choose Jackson in the fourth round and spent another fourth-round choice on Cohen. The Bears also picked tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round and offensive lineman Jordan Morgan in the fifth round.

Several prominent NFL analysts gave the Bears very poor grades immediately following the 2017 draft.

"People were bashing us, [saying], 'Who are these guys? Where are they from? Why did we bring them to Chicago?'" Trubisky said.

"We know what type of guys we are, and how hard we work and the type of talent we have. It's awesome to see. I've seen all the work that Eddie and Tarik put in, so for them to be here, that's huge and I'm just so happy for them.

"It says a lot about the type of people and players [general manager] Ryan Pace has brought in. It talks about our caliber of talent. People will always underestimate you and give you grades, but we're here, so there's nothing they can say now really. We have to keep getting better and enjoy it."

The Bears certainly enjoyed a resurgent 2018 season, winning the NFC North title for the first time since 2010 with a 12-4 record. The future is bright, but Trubisky and his teammates will need some time to decompress after a bitter 16-15 wild-card playoff loss to the Eagles.

"It's so tough," Trubisky said. "You never want to see it come to an end. And for it to end in such a dramatic way, it's kind of heartbreaking. There's a lot that goes into this as far as how hard we work, how much we love this game and our teammates, and how we aspire to get all the way to the Super Bowl.

"You've just got to try to stay positive, move forward, take it for what it is and keep getting better. [I'm] just relaxing and enjoying the time off we have right now. But I'm very eager to get back to work and excited for what we're going to do this year and in coming years."