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Taking Care Of Their Own Part Of "Bears Culture"

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The Bears frequently talk about wanting to create a culture. They know that means taking care of their own.

Cam Ellis,NBC Sports Chicago 16 hours ago
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Spirits were high in Halas Hall's newly-renovated locker room on Sunday afternoon, which tends to happen when someone gets paid. At times it was hard to even hear Cody Whitehair talk about his 5-year, $52 million extension over the cheers and playful teasing from teammates that walked by. 

"It's huge for us. We had a big day in our O-line room," Kyle Long said with a smile. 

"I feel like I just got paid a little bit too," joked Mitch Trubisky. 

For those counting, that's now four straight years of in-house extensions taken care of during the opening weeks of the season: Long in 2016, Charles Leno and Akiem Hicks in 2017, and Eddie Goldman last year. For a team that so frequently talks about, as Nagy puts it, "creating their own stars," the Bears are also clearly intent on showing that they reward their own. 

"They're very loyal," Whitehair said. "It speaks a lot about this organization and paying players  that are drafted here…  

"... They care about me so much, and it just means the world to me to stay here for another five years."

The Bears now have their starting five offensive linemen signed through at least the next two seasons. Kyle Long has a club option for next season, and comes off the books in 2021; Bobby Massie and Charles Leno are signed through 2022. James Daniels' rookie contract runs through 2021 as well. And while there's certainly room for improvement – especially in the run game – having continuity never hurts. 

"It allows us to know that we're going to be together, and count on each other and continue playing next to each other and protecting Mitch," Whitehair said. 

"I think that one thing it does - it takes a lot of thoughts out of Cody's head and he can just focus on what we've gotta focus on," Long added. 

"We've all known that Cody was going to get taken care of, and we know that if we do what we're supposed to do in our room on a daily basis, that all of us would be taken care of in the proper way. It allows us to focus on football." 

The Bears frequently talk about culture building, and creating their own legacy. Rewarding hard-working players that buy in – players like Whitehair, Goldman, and Akiem Hicks – goes a long way, both inside Halas Hall and out. 

"That's what you've got to do. You have to be a good locker room," Tarik Cohen said. "Everybody has to be a great teammate, you know, that's when you get that dynasty feeling. That's where you know the culture when you come here." 

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I believe this bodes well for Floyd, Cohen, Jackson and all other key elements of the teams success.

Ryan Pace has shown that if show up on time, in condition, ready to work, and put the effort into winning that it takes you won't have to knock on their door for a raise.  They'll come looking for you.

Injuries aside (knock on wood) having all 5 starters of the OL signed through 2020 is huge in my mind. This year and next our window to a championship is wide open and the single most important unit of the offense will remain intact.

You can't help but feeling as positive about this as the players themselves feel.

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Pretty awesome to see how Pace has changed the culture from the bitter one where Briggs was loafing, Houston tore his ACL on his first sack on a back up while we were getting destroyed in week 8, and there was just tension though the locker room with some of the cancerous personalities. The Bears have become a completely rejuvenated franchise. Pace started it and Nagy has reinforced his efforts. Just awesome.

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24 minutes ago, Sugashane said:

Pretty awesome to see how Pace has changed the culture from the bitter one where Briggs was loafing, Houston tore his ACL on his first sack on a back up while we were getting destroyed in week 8, and there was just tension though the locker room with some of the cancerous personalities. The Bears have become a completely rejuvenated franchise. Pace started it and Nagy has reinforced his efforts. Just awesome.

Every team needs strong leadership from it's coaching staff and Nagy and his staff have provided that.  They have these guys not only believing they can win again but feeling that they are entitled to win if the work hard enough for it.  What a change huh?

With the exception of maybe his very first year where he was working with an existing scouting staff that was not his own I believe Pace had the right recipe for his team but was unwilling to commit big money and long term deals to guys who would play under Fox.  I don't think Fox could have motivated a driver to clear the tracks because a train was bearing down on him.  He's an arrogant old fool.

As soon as he had GMcC's OK to proceed with his own plan and fire Fox at seasons end he did so and basically kept Fox out of that process entirely.  His drafts and FA acquisitions since have helped build this team to where it is now and it's only just started.

And this time in addition to having a HC and a GM who move in lockstep like ballroom dancers we have ownership 100% behind them and Ted Phillips off minding the books and the bank accounts where he has always belonged.  One reason I refused to believe a trade for Mack was possible had more to do with his contract than draft picks.  I never believed we would ever agree to pay him what he asked.

Initially GMcC's enthusiastic agreement shocked me.  But then I reflected back on old man Halas himself who had a rep for being hard to negotiate with and cheaper than a Dollar Store broom.  The truth is that Halas was very cagey when it came to money.  He'd often refuse to pay what a guy asked but later found ways to pay him anyway but after the fact if he produced.  He would always pay for the very best.

Luckman and Sayers are two guys that benefited this way and there were others as well.  When Brian Piccolo became ill Halas demanded he get the best care available and paid for it.  And how cheap could he really have been when he personally guaranteed Red Grange $100k in the 1920s to sign with him and go on a barnstorming tour that put pro football on the map for good. The NFL is George Halas.

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