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Bears have different reactions to Marc Trestman’s firing

Similar to Lovie Smith two years ago, Marc Trestman addressed his players at Halas Hall after getting fired by the Bears on Monday. There weren’t any tearful moments in the locker room on Monday, but there definitely was a dire mood.

“It’s unfortunate that people’s jobs are at stake all of the time,” guard Kyle Long said. “It’s just the nature of the business. Unfortunately, we didn’t play well enough this year, and obviously that’s all encompassing from coaches, players, everybody. We needed to be better and we weren’t.”

Trestman and general manager Phil Emery were both fired Monday morning after a disastrous 5-11 season full of internal conflict. Emery briefly met the media, while Trestman issued a statement and addressed his team.

What was Trestman’s final message?

“He let us know this was a good locker room, that we had a great group of guys,” cornerback Tim Jennings said.

“[It was] just to continue to love one another and keep playing for one another,” Long added. “He was as he always is – very thought-out, everything is very thought-out. He’s a smart guy so he had a good message for us. We appreciate him being able to get up there and talk to us. He’s a man about it and we love him for that and respect him for that.”

Tight end Martellus Bennett said Trestman’s final meeting felt similar to his other meetings with the team.

“Really, [it was] just thank you, appreciating the guys, really the same meeting Marc Trestman always has,” said Bennett, who often played catch with Trestman after practices. “[It was] nothing different from what he usually does when he comes in. [He] has his notes written down, he’s meticulous about the things he says, very good with the words he chooses to use.

“For coach, I think it’s just a dream [deterred]. He’s a great coach, an excellent guy and I think he will have another chance to coach in this league at this level.”

Still, to some players, it was a final meeting that lacked some of the same tumult of Smith’s firing.

“It was weird,” Jennings said. “I can honestly say it wasn’t as heartbreaking as it was when Lovie left. But it’s always a sour feeling when you lose a guy.”

In the end, Trestman had won over some players and was never able to reach others in his two seasons in charge.

“I’m pretty sure Trestman is going to have a new team next year,” defensive tackle Stephen Paea said.

So what do the Bears do next?

Jennings said the Bears lost their aggressiveness as defense during two historically bad seasons. Coordinator Mel Tucker hasn’t been officially fired by the Bears, but he’s expected to be dismissed. Jennings said he’d be open to playing for Rex Ryan, who was just fired by the New York Jets.

“We were never aggressive as a defense,” Jennings said. “It was just that foundation that defense was the Chicago Bears and we kind of have to get back to having a foundation and you have to build from it.”

For starters, players haven’t stopped believing in their locker-room mix and talent level.

“The right coach for Chicago is one that wants to instill an identity, demands a team that has an identity, and when we play opponents, [they] should say, ‘We don’t want to play those guys,’ ” Long said. “There’s a handful of teams in the NFL that are like that and I feel like we have the nucleus to be able to do that. And we haven’t done that, and that’s something that we need to do.”