Guard Kyle Long grew up the son of a Pro Football Hall of Famer. But he’s still preparing to be awed when he sees some of his franchise’s alumni at the three-day Bears 100 Celebration Weekend, which starts Friday night at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
“These are historical figures,” said Long, the son of former Raiders great Howie Long. “These are the guys on the wall we pass every day — Bears Hall of Famers, retired numbers. It’s going to be a great opportunity just to pick their brains and have an appreciation of the history and the legacy that has been built here.”
Coach Matt Nagy knows the former player he wants to see.
“Jim McMahon,” Nagy said. “He’s a quarterback. On a Super Bowl team. I’m looking forward to all of them. They’re all great people and players. . . . I’m really looking forward to us all being together, telling a bunch of stories.”
Here’s a fan primer for the convention, which the team is touting as the largest gathering of Bears in anticipation of the franchise’s 100th season:
Weekend passes are available on the Bears’ website for $125 plus fees. Children 10 and under are free with a paid adult, but the free ticket must be acquired through the website.
All-day parking is $15 at the convention-center lot, located at 9500 Williams St.
Doors open Friday at 5:30 p.m., with the opening ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. During the ceremony, the Bears will acknowledge more than 200 current and former players. Chairman George McCaskey will unveil the team’s new throwback jersey, though Dick’s Sporting Goods began selling the design — a white jersey with blue and orange stripes on the shoulders and sleeves — briefly last weekend.
The convention runs from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-noon Sunday.
Ten panels will run Saturday and Sunday on the main stage and last about an hour apiece. Here are five to watch:
† Quarterbacks: Jim McMahon and Mitch Trubisky — 9:15 a.m. Saturday.
† Hall of Fame linebackers: Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian -Urlacher — 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
† 1963 champions: Mike Ditka, -Johnny Morris and Bob Wetoska — 11:45 a.m. -Saturday.
† 1985 champions: Richard Dent, Willie Gault, Jay Hilgenberg, Emery Moorehead and Otis Wilson — 4:45 p.m. Saturday.
† Leading the Bears: general manager Ryan Pace, Nagy and president/CEO Ted Phillips — 11:10 a.m. Sunday.
The Bears will hold five panels in the south ballroom. Here are three to watch:
† Kids press conference: Chase -Daniel, Cody Whitehair and Staley Da Bear —
2:15 p.m. Saturday.
† Meet the coordinators: Mark Helfrich, Chuck Pagano and Chris Tabor — 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
† Building the future: Front-office -execs Champ Kelly, Josh Lucas and Mark Sadowski — 10 a.m. Sunday.
Sessions are free to anyone with a weekend or single-day pass. Children with a free pass are not eligible, though they can stand in line with a paying pass-holder. Wristbands for autographs will be distributed an hour before the session begins. The Bears will have separate photo opportunities with past and present players. The same rules apply.
The Bears released their autograph schedule Friday:
Saturday and Sunday, fans can visit 14 activity zones. Among them:
† Hall of Fame busts: For the first time, all 28 Bears busts will be on display outside of Canton, Ohio.
† Trophies: The Super Bowl XX trophy and 1963 championship trophy will be on display.
† Bears end zone: Kids can participate in a miniature football clinic, do NFL Scouting Combine drills with players and run on a 100-yard turf field.