Let’s take this opportunity to imagine Mitch Trubisky as a star

SHARE Let’s take this opportunity to imagine Mitch Trubisky as a star
SHARE Let’s take this opportunity to imagine Mitch Trubisky as a star

Let’s dream a little here.

We’re watching Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky as he observes the (largely) friendly pack of reporters standing before him at the edge of the practice field at Halas Hall.

The young man is solidly built, maybe 6-2, maybe a tad more or less, still amazingly fresh at 22, and nobody has any idea whether he’s any good.

Flash forward, let’s say, a couple of years. Trubisky is in a similar crowd after sitting and mostly learning as a rookie in 2017 and showing great promise in starting a few games at the end of 2018. Now, in 2019, he is ready to be the next Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, even — dare we say it? — Drew Brees or Brett Favre!

That’s the dream all Bears fans have as the franchise continues its endless search for a superstar quarterback. There must be one somewhere, right?

Yet not since Sid Luckman has a possible Hall of Fame leader been discovered hiding under a rock, crouching silently as a first-round pick, hunkered down inside a free-agent signing or barely visible as part of a trade.

Yes, Jim McMahon was good, but he was always hurt. He was chosen to exactly one Pro Bowl and, of course, was too injured to play. Erik Kramer had his moments. And, to be honest, so did waste of time Jay Cutler.

But Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Jim Miller, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Tomczak, Bob Avellini, Bobby Douglass, Jack Concannon, Rudy Bukich, Bill Wade? Nah.

And before that, we’ve got ancient history, guys such as Ed Brown. And if I don’t remember Ed Brown, then you sure don’t.

So here is Trubisky, a young kid who started all of 13 games at North Carolina but finished sixth in school history with 4,762 passing yards and fifth with 41 passing touchdowns. He was agile and athletic in college, scoring eight touchdowns rushing. And, in limited time, he seemed like a leader.

But do we know anything for sure? Absolutely not.

A couple of seasons from now, we only can dream that general manager Ryan Pace knew exactly what he was doing when he moved up a spot in the 2017 draft to take this quarterback — who might have been available later — with the No. 2 overall pick after signing Mike Glennon to be the apparent quarterback of the future.

Sure, the Bears have been terrible at drafting quarterbacks, having passed up fellows such as Brees, Favre, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and, of course, Tom Brady.

But what if Trubisky is finally the jackpot, the three cherries in a row? Suppose Glennon leads for a while as Trubisky learns and develops — like Rodgers, who sat behind Favre — before exploding onto the scene. Wouldn’t that be sweet? And isn’t this the time to hope for the best?

In reality, the Bears are an oddly pieced-together team — old and young, neither great nor horrible — with Trubisky but one of the pieces.

‘‘I’m hard on myself,’’ he said in the media scrum.

What had dawned on him was ‘‘the realization of how much time you actually have to put in to be an NFL quarterback — taking care of your body, studying all day, all night, right before you go to bed. It’s all about blocking out distractions and how good you want to be. It’s all about how much time you want to put in.’’

Time is the thing here. It’s fun watching Trubisky make throws in pad-less team drills, rifling shots to receivers who need gloves to keep the skin from peeling off their hands. But it’s practice. And who knows?

Trubisky does know about Chicago, about its love affair with the Bears. And he’s not overwhelmed.

‘‘I love that,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve come to a place that’s crazy about football, crazy about the NFL. . . . I feel like I fit in great.’’

He hasn’t signed his rookie contract, but he will. He doesn’t seem to have ‘‘holdout’’ or ‘‘arrogant schmuck’’ written on him. That’s good.

So the long-range dream is on.

‘‘I try to be as coachable a player as possible,’’ Trubisky said, noting coaches want him to improve his footwork in the pocket.

But his arm is good.

‘‘I’ve got a quick release,’’ he said matter-of-factly.

It comes down to time, folks. Is it on Trubisky’s side? The Bears’ side? Our side?


Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com


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