Bears coach John Fox’s parting message for his players was more like a warning: Stay out of trouble.
“I’ve been saying for a long time, and I said it again today, ‘I don’t want to read about you unless you win the lottery,’ ” Fox said Thursday after the final practice of mandatory minicamp at Halas Hall.
“Just make good decisions, and that’s no different off the field than it is on the field. You’re trying to play smart, tough and better-conditioned football, and same thing off the field.
“You hope you don’t see your head of security or your [public-relations] guy on your phone over the break. But I think these guys have conducted themselves well and will continue to moving forward.”
It’s also a message that comes with an example. Defensive end Ray McDonald was immediately released on May 25 after he was arrested in California.
The Bears’ first offseason program under Fox is over. The team reports to Bourbonnais for training camp on July 29.
“I’ve got four children and every time they leave the house it’s the same feeling,” Fox said. ‘[I’m] not comparing [players] to children, but it’s a big responsibility, and I expect them to conduct themselves well, whether it’s on or off the field.”
Fox is optimistic about the progress his team made this offseason, which featured an extra minicamp. But Fox also recommends that his players forget about football for some time during their break.
“At times in our league, in my experience, we’ve gone a little overboard,” Fox said. “I think there’s a happy medium. You can wear guys down, wear guys out.”
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