The Bears (and NFL) Have a New COVID Battle on Their Hands

Playing professional football through a pandemic was challenging (to say the least). But just because we’re progressing away from the darkest times doesn’t mean we’re totally in the clear. Perspective is king here.

And yet, I find this encouraging:

Remember: Head Coach Matt Nagy had to miss time during rookie minicamp because a close contact tested positive for COVID-19. And last year, OL Coach Juan Castillo missed prep work (and a game) due to being a close contact with someone who tested positive. Long story, short: The closer Chicago’s coaches get to full vaccination, the better off the team will be. Coaches and players missing time due to COVID issues is something I hope isn’t a problem that rears its ugly head in 2021.

This quote from Matt Nagy (via Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times) really drives it home: “It’s just different when you see people’s expressions [when] you talk to them out on the field, in meetings.”

After getting my shots and seeing friends who got theirs, I can attest that things are different when you’re able to see facial expressions in public again. It’s a nice feeling, to be sure. But, as a reminder, this is just the beginning of this season’s Bears battle against COVID-19.

Dan Wiederer (Tribune) writes about the mixed bag of reactions from players when discussing the COVID-19 vaccine. For instance, things are lining up for center Sam Mustipher to get his second shot next week. Mustipher sees getting the vaccine as something that will give him an opportunity to get on the field without restrictions. That’s probably important to someone battling for a job in camp.

“I just want to play ball,” Mustipher said. “That’s what I love to do. If getting the vaccine means I’m going to be out there no matter what, then I’m going to do it.”

That’s a nice sentiment. And it’s one I think that’s relatable across the spectrum. If you love doing X, and if taking the vaccine puts you in a position to enjoy X without restrictions, then it’s going to be an easy decision for those who see it in that light. Certainly, not everyone will. But that perspective from Mustipher is one that seems to be one that’s easy to relate to when it comes to where we are right now.

Elsewhere in the locker room, Wiederer quotes tight end Cole Kmet who said “I’m going to keep that private” when asked if he would get vaccinated. That Kmet is described as having dodged the question makes me feel uneasy. I wonder if discussing things with someone like Mustipher, his former Notre Dame teammate, would change how he answers the question if it comes his way again.

Meanwhile, newcomer Damien Williams — who opted out of 2020 because of the pandemic to help keep his mother safe after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer — is still on the fence. “I really haven’t made a decision on that yet,” Williams said, via Wiederer. “Right now, you really just want to do your studying on it and seeing the pros and cons.”

In the end, Nagy’s messages are simple: (1) “[I]f you’re not vaccinated, then you need to wear your mask.” and (2) “[F]or us, we would love for everybody to get their vaccinations. And we encourage that and educate them on it.” Education and encouragement can go a long way.

Ah, yes. As I was saying, education and encouragement can go a long way…

… but you have to be open to said education and encouragement in order to make a good decision.

Sam Darnold initially thought the mononucleosis diagnosis (which sparked a bajillion memes) was a prank. No, seriously.

Let me be clear. I don’t want to write about COVID stuff as much as you don’t want to read it. Thinking about 2020 can often lead to a rabbit hole no one wants to travel down. But so long as it’s an issue in the NFL, we must do our duty.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

more bears news

Bears Rookie Jamree Kromah to Start the Summer on the PUP List

Here is some non-Caleb Williams news from the land of Chicago Bears football. NFL reporter Aaron Wilson shares that rookie Jamree Kromah will start the summer on the PUP List: https://twitter.com/AaronWilson_NFL/status/1813684909195874586 It is a bummer whenever anyone begins training camp...

FINALLY! Caleb Williams Signs His Rookie Deal with the Bears (UPDATE: Done Deal)

The No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft has reportedly signed on the dotted line. ESPN's Adam Schefter delivered the initial scoop on Caleb Williams signing his rookie contract with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday... https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1813296950021632405 ... and after...

Report: Caleb Williams Wants a No Franchise Tag Commitment From the Bears

The national media reported on Tuesday that wide receiver Rome Odunze had agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears on his rookie deal. Shortly after that, the Bears confirmed the signing, released a press release with the details of the...

Edwards, Big Beefy OL Extension, Bourbonnais, Where NFL Makes Its Money, and Other Bears Bullets

Today I learned that former Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward created MLB's All-Star Game. Learning is fun. There are only 53 days until the Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans square off in Week 1 of the 2024 NFL regular...

Now That the Rookies Are Signed, Let’s Check Out Some 2024 Chicago Bears Projections

It happened. Finally, the Chicago Bears have signed all of their picks from the 2024 NFL Draft. In case you missed it, the team made it official with No. 9 selection Rome Odunze, and have reportedly done the same with...

It Sounds Like Rome Odunze is Already Ahead of the Game

No, Rome Odunze — the Chicago Bears' other first-round pick — hasn't signed his contract just yet. But when he does put his pen to paper and signs on the dotted line, it sounds like the rookie receiver will be ready to...

THERE IT IS! Rome Odunze and the Bears Have Agreed to Terms on His Rookie Deal (UPDATE: He’s Signed!)

It was only a matter of time until Rome Odunze and the Chicago Bears made it officially official. Here is the news from NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, who reports the Bears have come to terms on a deal with...

Brandon Aiyuk Wants a Trade From the 49ers (and For Once, It Means Nothing for the Bears)

A big-name wide receiver is looking for a new home with training camp about to begin for NFL teams. According to Mike Garafolo, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has officially requested a trade. This comes after a recent...

Caleb Cares, Urlacher, Cairo’s Deal, Robbie’s Beef With SF, and Other Bears Bullets

If I knew why my wi-fi was being so wonky this morning I'd have drawn up a better intro for today's Bears Bullets. Chicago Bears rookies are scheduled to report to training camp TODAY. The same can be said about...

A Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze Contract Watch Update

Chicago Bears rookies are scheduled to report to Halas Hall for training camp on Tuesday. As in ... TODAY! And even though Bears first-round picks Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze remain unsigned this morning, there doesn't seem to be much...

Latest News

Ajdukovic vs. Monteiro Prediction at the Nordea Open – Friday, July 19

Duje Ajdukovic (No. 130 ranking) will meet Thiago Monteiro (No. 85) in the quarterfinals at the Nordea Open on Friday, July 19.In this matchup, Monteiro is the favorite (-278) against Ajdukovic (+210) .Nordea Open InfoTournament: The Nordea OpenRound: QuarterfinalsDate: Friday,...

Cerundolo vs. Martinez Prediction at the Hamburg European Open – Friday, July 19

In the quarterfinals at the Hamburg European Open on Friday, Francisco Cerundolo (ranked No. 33) faces Pedro Martinez (No. 49).In this matchup versus Martinez (+190), Cerundolo is favored to win with -250 odds.Hamburg European Open InfoTournament: The Hamburg European OpenRound:...

Darderi vs. Baez Prediction at the Hamburg European Open – Friday, July 19

Luciano Darderi will face Sebastian Baez in the Hamburg European Open quarterfinals on Friday, July 19.Against the underdog Darderi (+145), Baez is the favorite (-189) to advance.Hamburg European Open InfoTournament: The Hamburg European OpenRound: QuarterfinalsDate: Friday, July 19Venue: MatchMaker Sports...

Michelsen vs. Kovacevic Prediction at the Hall of Fame Open – Thursday, July 18

In the Hall of Fame Open quarterfinals on Thursday, Alex Michelsen meets Aleksandar Kovacevic.Michelsen is the favorite against Kovacevic, with -210 odds against the underdog's +160.Hall of Fame Open InfoTournament: The Hall of Fame OpenRound: QuarterfinalsDate: Thursday, July 18Venue: International...

Struff vs. Etcheverry Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Friday, July 19

In the Swiss Open Gstaad quarterfinals on Friday, Jan-Lennard Struff faces Tomas Martin Etcheverry.Against the underdog Etcheverry (+120), Struff is the favorite (-155) to advance.Swiss Open Gstaad InfoTournament: The Swiss Open GstaadRound: QuarterfinalsDate: Friday, July 19Venue: Roy Emerson ArenaLocation: Gstaad,...

Nordea Open Schedule Friday, July 19: Matchups & TV/Live Stream Info

There are two matches at the Nordea Open on July 19, the best being No. 121-ranked Thiago Agustin Tirante versus No. 54 Roberto Carballes Baena. Looking to keep up with the action? The Tennis Channel provides live coverage and highlights...

Avanesyan vs. Schmiedlova Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Friday, July 19

Elina Avanesyan will meet Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova in the Hungarian Grand Prix quarterfinals on Friday, July 19.Against the underdog Schmiedlova (+135), Avanesyan is the favorite (-175) to advance.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: QuarterfinalsDate: Friday, July 19Venue: Romai Tennis...

2024 Open Championship TV Thursday Schedule: Tee Times, Channel, and Live Stream

The wind whips off the Firth of Clyde, carrying the scent of anticipation as much as the sea. Royal Troon awakens for battle today, the first shots of the 2024 Open Championship ringing out at dawn. A tournament rich in...

2024 Brickyard 400 Odds: Betting Ty Gibbs during NASCAR’s Triumphant IMS Oval Return

The engines are fired up, the red bricks of the start/finish line await, and the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway is ready to rumble! Buckle up racing fans, because the NASCAR Cup Series is set to deliver a white-knuckled weekend on...

Bears Rookie Jamree Kromah to Start the Summer on the PUP List

Here is some non-Caleb Williams news from the land of Chicago Bears football. NFL reporter Aaron Wilson shares that rookie Jamree Kromah will start the summer on the PUP List: https://twitter.com/AaronWilson_NFL/status/1813684909195874586 It is a bummer whenever anyone begins training camp...

more bears news