A Darnell Mooney Mindset and Health Update: “Probably A Thousand Times Better Than I Was”
At this time last year, we were hoping the offseason work Darnell Mooney was putting in with Justin Fields would elevate him into true WR1 status.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be.
Mooney came up with just 40 catches, 493 receiving yards, and two touchdowns in 12 games last season. It wasn’t the type of follow-up performance anyone was expecting in 2022 after he put up career-bests in catches (81) and yards (1,055) while establishing himself as Fields’ top target. It was a tough year all around for Mooney. Because not only did his down year come after a slow start, Mooney’s season was cut short due to an ankle injury that took place on the shoddy surface of MetLife Stadium. Any way you slice it, it wasn’t pretty.
But the past is the past. Mooney has all eyes on the future. And it’s one in which he is taking no prisoners, as he relayed to brothers Amon-Ra and Equanimeous St. Brown on their podcast at The 33rd Team:
The full quote is a doozy, too:
“Do whatever I can do for my team. I mean, ball out, of course. Dominate. Not really on the ‘respect my name’ anymore. I’m just going out for disrespect. I’m just disrespecting everybody now. I don’t really care about respect no more. Other than that, I just want to win. Don’t really care about anything else. For real.”
Mooney was ready to take off last year. He was working hard with Fields, loving Luke Getsy’s new scheme, and positioning himself to take another sizable leap in his development. A year later, Mooney is entering with a brand new mindset. It’s a bit edgy, to be sure. However, it is also one I’d expect from a receiver entering a contract year with still so much to prove. Some guys play with a chip. And then there is Mooney, who sounds like he will be playing with a boulder on his shoulder. His priorities seem to be in check. This has me looking forward to seeing Mooney get in his bag once football activities ramp up.
But will he be healthy? That’s the question on our minds through all this. Having motivational factors is a start, but being healthy to execute them matters most.
In addition to revealing his new mindset, Mooney offered up an update regarding his health.
“I am running,” Mooney said. “I’m cutting. I’ll be 100 percent. I got screws in my foot, so I’ll be a little robotic. Probably a thousand times better than I was.”
Hooray! Another bit of good news from the health front for Mooney. Earlier in May, Bears WRs Coach Tyke Tolbert told reporters that Mooney was doing “great” in his rehab. It was a brief update, but a small bit of positive news is better than the alternative. Training camp won’t open until late July, so it’s not as if Mooney should be in any hurry to rush through the process. And yet, I can’t wait to see what he looks like when he’s back in business. The Mooney-Fields connection was fun to watch in flashes in 2021 and 2022. With new weaponry around him, a healthy Mooney could nudge the Bears offense out of its doldrums.
For more from Mooney, you’ll want to watch the entire podcast interview: