LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- On his first snap in a Bears uniform, veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn recorded a strip-sack. What seemed liked it might be a tone-setter for his first year in Chicago was anything but.
Quinn recorded just one more sack in the 2020 season -- finishing with two in total -- over 15 games. It represented a major disappointment to begin his tenure with the Bears, one he certainly felt.
"It was a bad year," Quinn said.
The Bears signed Quinn to a five-year, $70-million contract in March 2020, guaranteeing him $30 million with the hope he could bolster their defense and complement star edge rusher Khalil Mack. Instead, Quinn played in just 51% of the Bears' defensive snaps and generated only 16 total pressures in 15 games.
"I’ll be honest, just a terrible year for me personally," Quinn said. "No excuses, but last year is last year. You can’t change it. So I’ll leave that where it’s at and move on to 2021.
"I guess I might’ve just been hard on myself, because I’ve got high expectations. I might’ve just beaten myself down mentally."
Quinn, 31, has the Bears' second-highest cap hit at $14.7 million in 2021, a figure that's also the highest on the defense. His payday comes during a season in which the salary cap shrunk to an adjusted mark of $190 million for Chicago following the pandemic. The Bears released veteran cornerback Kyle Fuller in March as a salary cap casualty.
It puts more pressure on Quinn to live up to his billing in 2021.
“Get to the damn quarterback," Mack said. "That’s what we got paid to do, coming in and affect the game by getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers and short fields for the offense. Ultimately, that’s the goal. Of course we're not satisfied with the result last year. So there’s work to be done, enough talking."
When the Bears held their first practice of training camp Wednesday afternoon -- a planned lighter, one-hour workout on the back fields of Halas Hall -- Quinn was a limited participant. He's still hampered by a lower back issue that kept him out of veteran minicamp in early June.
Quinn isn't concerned with the back ailment, describing it as "load management" for an 11-year NFL veteran. It was only the first day of training camp.
Ultimately for Quinn, the production must speak for itself.
“I get the opportunity to reprove myself," Quinn said. "Earn the respect -- or however you want to say it -- from the guys. Make sure I don’t disappoint them with this season like I did last year."
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.