Bears’ Andy Dalton ‘not worried’ about reception after failed Russell Wilson trade

On Thursday, the Bears’ newest quarterback danced nimbly across a topic that crushed wishful Bears fans earlier this week: a failed trade for Seahawks superstar quarterback Russell Wilson.

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San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys

Quarterback Andy Dalton spent one year with the Cowboys.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Andy Dalton can read a defense.

He can read the room, too.

On Thursday, the Bears’ newest quarterback danced nimbly across a topic that crushed wishful Bears fans earlier this week: a failed trade for superstar Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Dalton admitted that the Bears kept him in the loop as trade discussions went on and recruited him as the starter once they fell through.

“I was in constant contact with everybody throughout this whole process,” Dalton said on an introductory Zoom call. “I knew what was going into it. I think that was really it.

“And when it wasn’t happening and this worked out for both of us to come together and for me to be a part of this team, I was ecstatic. Because I was hoping that was gonna be the case. I knew everything that was going on.”

Comfortable in his own skin, the 33-year-old Dalton didn’t apologize for not being the quarterback Bears fans spent all season dreaming about. But he did acknowledge reality — that some locals might still be rolling their eyes at his very presence on their favorite football team.

His message: Give me a chance.

“Obviously, I know there’s been a lot of talk, but I’m coming in from the outside,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know a ton about me and are gonna get to learn a lot about me while I’m here. That’s all I’m worried about. And so, I’m here now.”

It’s easy to feel bad for Dalton — or at least as bad as it’s possible to feel for someone who agreed to make up to $13 million over 16 football games. He doesn’t deserve barbs from Bears fans — statistically, he’s more accomplished than any quarterback in Bears’ history. He has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in a season twice; no passer has ever done it once while wearing the wishbone C.

It’s not Dalton’s fault the Bears swung and missed on Wilson. Or that general manager Ryan Pace dug such a hole at the most important position in sports than Bears fans were left praying for a miracle to fix it. Or that Dalton’s new franchise hasn’t had a star quarterback in 71 years.

“Hopefully everybody gets a chance to see who I am as a player, as a person,” he said. “See what we’re gonna be able to do with this organization. I’m excited about the opportunity. Obviously, there’s been a lot of talk, but I’m not worried about any of that.”

After spending his first nine seasons in sleepy Cincinnati, Dalton thought he might get a glimpse of the Cowboys’ media circus last season, when he signed to back up Dak Prescott.

“I thought last year I was going to sign with the Cowboys and I was going to get to experience something completely different and everything,” he said. “But I think COVID limited a lot of that stuff.”

The result, he said, wasn’t anything he hadn’t experienced before. A year from now, he probably won’t be able to say the same.

To Dalton’s credit, though, he’s walking into Chicago with his eyes wide open.

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