Bears concerned about return amid virus? Some say ‘scary,’ others ‘fine’

Whether because of blind optimism or genuine hope, the NFL is inching closer to business as usual.

Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks makes a tackle against the Rams.

Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks makes a tackle against the Rams.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan had poured out his soul Wednesday when someone asked whether it was going to be hard for him to focus on football after the killing of George Floyd, subsequent protests and difficult, emotional national conversations about race.

I’m more worried about corona[virus] than I’m worried about that in football,” he said. “I mean, it still exists in the world — so let’s not forget about corona, bro.

“You know, I might go to camp and somebody might have that — and I might not be able to play no more.”

Like that, Trevathan issued a reminder of the other national crisis: a pandemic for which there is no cure.

Whether because of blind optimism or genuine hope, though, the NFL is inching closer to business as usual. Thursday, the league sent a memo to all 32 teams stating that their coaches were allowed inside their facilities starting Friday, subsequent to local laws. Bears coaches, a source said, still planned to work from home until further notice.

Eventually — most likely in late July for the start of training camp — Bears players will be called back to Halas Hall and expected to practice.

“I’ll say this, it is scary,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said Wednesday. “It’s scary to think that most of my job is physical contact with other players. And so, boy, I don’t know. I don’t know. I want to be safe, and I’m sure they’re going to do their best to make sure we’re in the best possible situation in order to be able to play this game and do it, right? But it’s scary. That’s how I feel.”

Hicks has been vigilant about quarantining. He invented a tequila cocktail called a “quarantini” — but the coronavirus wouldn’t even let him enjoy that. He stopped drinking them, he said, when he read that alcohol consumption increased the chances of getting sick.

Bears receiver Allen Robinson has been leaving the house four times a week to play catch with quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the suburbs.

Robinson said he wasn’t “too concerned” the virus would be spread in the locker room whenever the Bears return.

“I think that, if we’re going to be put back in the facility, I think that measures are going to be taken,” he said. “I think that a plan will be had — and, you know, I think that enough research and stuff will have been done to put I think everybody in the best kind of situation

“Again, we are all in close proximity in the locker room. But I think that not even in the locker room, but that’s any kind of work environment — whether that’s a plant, whether that’s an office building. You know, people are close up on each other. Every day they’re working together.”

Earlier this week, the league announced that all teams must hold training camp from their home facilities this year. While there has been no official announcement, fans likely won’t be allowed to watch in person. Joint practices with other teams were banned, too, scrapping the Bears’ August trip to the Broncos’ facility. More changes are likely to come.

Still, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills told ESPN this week he was “very optimistic we’ll be playing football in the fall of 2020.” That leaves wiggle room, of course, and the NFL schedule was constructed in a way that would allow the league to move back the season’s start. Each team shares a bye week with its Week 2 opponent, for example, baking in a makeup date were the game postponed.

“I think that once everybody kind of gets back to work, I think that with a good plan and everything like that, I think that everything will be fine,” Robinson said. “And I’m not too worried about that, and things in my control of that nature. So if I’m back in the locker room, my level of concern is pretty low.”

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