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Tyson Bagent lauded for work ethic, confidence

Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent
Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent

Outside Halas Hall, not much is known about Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent, an undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University who's expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Raiders.

So we asked those who work with him inside the Bears facility to provide some insight about the 23-year-old from Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Luke Getsy

The Bears offensive coordinator first worked with Bagent in January at the Senior Bowl, where Getsy served as head coach of the American Team.

"He has a lot of confidence, and he works his butt off," Getsy said. "The preparation is what gives him his confidence … In the beginning of the [Senior Bowl] week, I kind of thought he was a nervous dude, but I think it was because he was working his tail off so much. By the time we got to Wednesday, Thursday, I saw a guy ready to rock and roll."

Bagent made his NFL debut last Sunday against the Vikings, replacing an injured Justin Fields in the third quarter and completed 10 of 14 passes for 83 yards. The rookie quarterback engineered an 8-play, 77-yard drive that he capped with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. With Fields unable to practice this week, Bagent has been taking first-team reps. 

"Tyson's done a really nice job since the time he got here diving into learning the scheme, getting to know the players, the chemistry part of it," Getsy said. "Works hard every single day after practice, spends time grabbing guys and making sure anything that they need, he's there to help. 

"So as far as being a great teammate and all that stuff, he's been doing a great job. As far as the preparation part of it, he's done a great job. Getting to know him in that time in January was really good to kind of connect to see what kind of learner he is. And being able to dive into that quickly, I think that that's helped his progress and his ability to go in there last week and really function at a high level. That was a pretty good job by him."

While Bagent lacks NFL experience, he played in 53 games over five seasons at Shepherd, where he threw for 17,034 yards and set an all-time record for most TD passes across all NCAA divisions with 159.

"He's a fluid athlete," Getsy said. "The processing part of it, he played a lot of ball in college, threw the ball all over the yard, so he's an obvious passer of the football. All that stuff's really good, but the cool part about him is just the work ethic and the kind of teammate that he is, that he brings to that huddle, and to be able to go command the huddle right away in his first opportunity to do so, he did a really nice job."

The veteran cornerback was impressed by Bagent's arm talent and confidence as soon as they started practicing against each other during the offseason. 

"I didn't know that he was that Division II quarterback that set all the records," Johnson said. "When I found out, it started to make sense. He knows he can play at a high level. He can sling a ball. You see that throughout practice. He just carries himself different than the normal rookie quarterback, undrafted." 

Johnson wasn't surprised that Bagent played with poise against the Vikings. 

"He can't just change who he is," Johnson said. "I think it's in him at this point, being confident, being himself. He showed that going out there. He showed that in preseason. Now being on the bigger stage, having to lead the offense, I think it's something that he's been prepared for. I definitely know he's preparing the right way and always looking forward to the opportunity, and now he has it."

The Bears were back on the practice fields at Halas Hall to continue their preparation for Sunday's Week 7 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Tyler Scott

The Bears receiver first got to know Bagent in May during rookie minicamp.  

"Just kind of seeing him," Scott said, "just the way he operated, first and foremost was kind of like off the field, just seeing how cool he was, just real laid back, down-to-earth dude, easy to talk to, real approachable, things of that nature."

While Bagent may be easy going, his intensity is unmistakable. 

"One big thing is his preparation just during the season," Scott said. "I sat next to him on the plane a couple of times. After the game was over, a lot of times I saw him watching the game we just played on the ride back home. 

"You would just see those types of things, see the preparation, see how prepared, always ready, doing hand signals, kind of like a basketball player, how he walks through the house and everything is the hoop. It was kind of that same thing here, but everything was fundamentals, mechanics for him, just walking around. You notice things like that when you're with people and with your teammates."

Scott feels that Bagent's improbable journey from Division II to a Week 7 starting quarterback in the NFL was fueled by resiliency. 

"I remember I first saw him at the Combine," Scott said. "I don't think I ever had a conversation with him there, but there was some buzz around him: 'Hey, this guy's from D-II.' Didn't hear much about him as far as what he did. But then I did some research on him, seeing he was from a small school and seeing he had set some records in the NCAA.

"You don't just roll out of bed and do those things. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and he kept climbing. Came in, was able to win a job on the roster, the active roster, and now just earn the backup position and now you're going to play your way into being thrown in there. It speaks to his hard work."