LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- After an offseason of great change for the Bears and the start of a new beginning, veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn remains in the picture.
The Bears bid farewell to core players like edge rusher Khalil Mack, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and receiver Allen Robinson while overhauling more than half of the roster. That led to the expectation that the Bears would trade the 32-year-old Quinn, but a deal just hasn't materialized yet.
Quinn is coming off a terrific 2021 in which he broke the Bears’ single-season sacks record (18.5). On Wednesday, he expressed a desire to remain with the Bears while also acknowledging he understands the business at hand.
“I’ve been traded twice,” Quinn said. “You get tired of moving.
“I expect to be here. I guess if not, that’s out of my control.”
When the Bears took to the practice field Wednesday for the first time in training camp, Quinn was there – surrounded by many new teammates on a reshaped defense. That came after Quinn skipped the majority of the Bears' offseason program while focusing on individual preparation. That included a notable absence at mandatory veteran minicamp in June, something Quinn said wasn't related to a potential trade.
Now, Quinn has reported to training camp ready to perform and seems eager to be part of the team.
“All I control is myself,” Quinn said. “You can’t play this game if you’re not happy to be here because it’s one of the roughest games out there. Every day, you’ve got to buy in to be able to give the best of yourself. That’s all I’m trying to do every time I step in the building. I’m just trying to bring the best version of myself.”
Whether Quinn truly wants to be part of the rebuilding Bears’ new direction remains unclear. He's entering his 12th NFL season and has played in just two playoff games, a pair of wild-card round losses. Quinn has three more years under contract with the Bears, who are prepared to carefully build with the hope of emerging as a contender down the line.
For a team in transition like the Bears, trading a veteran star like Quinn makes sense. But the best opportunity for a deal was in the offseason with his value high after a Pro Bowl season.
Quinn could still be traded by the Bears before the regular season starts. If not, he'll likely be a coveted player prior to the trade deadline on Nov. 1. The Rams acquired star pass rusher Von Miller from the Broncos last November, and he became a pivotal piece of their Super Bowl championship season. The Broncos received a second- and third-round pick for Miller, who at the time was 32 like Quinn is now. The difference is Miller was on an expiring contract, while Quinn has three years remaining on his.
First-year Bears general manager Ryan Poles could well be waiting for the right haul in exchange for Quinn. For now, the Bears are happy to welcome back a key presence as they prepare to build for their future.
Quinn is on board with the Bears’ plan – for however long he’s part of it.
“I don’t think no one’s coming in (like), ‘Oh, we’ve got to tank the season for next year,’” Quinn said. “I think everyone’s got the mindset that we’ve got players to win games. That’s what everyone’s got the mindset to do.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.
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