Quarterback Nick Foles sat between his computer and a framed map of Austin, Texas, to give his first interview since the Bears agreed to trade for him this month.
The interviewer on a different computer Monday night was the man whose roster spot he took, Chase Daniel. The two have been so close for so long that the former Bears QB asked the newest one to be the first guest on his “Chase Chats” internet interview show. Daniel, who signed with the Lions this month, checked in from a bedroom in his San Diego-area home.
Those tuning in for insight on Foles’ new job were left, about a half-hour later, with nary a tea leaf to read. But there was a coffee maker.
The only reference to Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky came when Daniel said Trubisky decided to put an expensive Jura coffee maker in the Bears’ quarterbacks room. Daniel has sold Trubisky, Foles and Saints quarterback Drew Brees on the machines over the years.
“So you are going to get to enjoy that when you get into that quarterbacks room at some point,” Daniel told his friend.
Foles offered little in response.
There was another brief Bears reference — Daniel pointed out that Arizona, Foles’ alma mater, and his newest team both say “Bear down.”
Foles said that saying it again was “really exciting.”
They discussed Foles’ training regimen, his father’s restaurant empire and his pursuit of a master’s degree in theology from Liberty University. Foles said “the world will never be the same” after the coronavirus, and Daniel said he doubted the league would hold OTAs.
They spoke briefly about Foles throwing seven touchdown passes in a game in 2013. Otherwise, there was little football — and even less Bears. There was no mention of coach Matt Nagy, general manager Ryan Pace, wide receiver Allen Robinson or anything else navy and orange.
“I know there’s probably some PR departments from the Bears and Lions . . . that thought we were going to talk about football,” Daniel said.
Under regular circumstances, ignoring the connection — one outgoing Bears quarterback, one incoming — would have been bizarre.
But these aren’t ordinary times.
The Bears traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for Foles. But because of precautions taken for the coronavirus pandemic, the Bears have not completed physicals or paperwork for many of the players they agreed to acquire. NFL trainers have stopped giving physicals until further notice.
That leaves limbo.
Foles technically is not on the Bears’ roster. Fans can’t buy his jersey or add him in “Madden.” The team hasn’t introduced him to local media, even on the phone. Neither Nagy nor Pace has spoken publicly.
Apparently, Foles can’t talk about his team, either.
Chase Chats w/ Chase Daniel feat. Nick Foles https://t.co/HfYMmSO92w— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) March 31, 2020
When the NFL decided to hold free agency as usual, it didn’t account for the limbo it would create. The league at first said teams could only announce signed contracts, but it later said they could acknowledge agreements.
The Bears have only done the former, so, technically, they’ve only acquired seven players this month. They have yet to announce the Foles trade or the signings of, among others, outside linebackers Robert Quinn and Barkevious Mingo and offensive lineman Germain Ifedi.
Whenever the Foles trade goes through, he won’t hold his Bears jersey and smile into a bank of cameras. Gatherings, including news conferences, are on hold. So he’ll have a conference call. The team will put flashy videos on Twitter.
Until then, we have limbo. We have Daniel talking to Foles on a Monday night — and fans left wondering, for yet another day, what to make of the man who replaced the person interviewing him.