Bears, Byron Pringle ‘in a good place’ after arrest in Florida

“I know him very well. And it’s not a reflection of who he is at all,” said Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who was with the Chiefs personnel department for Pringle’s four seasons in Kansas City. “It’s a disappointment, but we had a good conversation about it.”

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Byron Pringle caught 42 passes for 568 yards and five touchdowns last season, including this 16-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes against the Steelers in Week 16 in a 36-10 Chiefs victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

Byron Pringle (scoring a touchdown against the Steelers last season) signed a one-year,$4 million contract with the Bears in free agency.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Bears general manager Ryan Poles said he was disappointed in wide receiver Byron Pringle’s arrest on charges of reckless driving and driving with a suspended license Saturday in Florida but maintained faith in his character and said the Bears and Pringle “are in a good place.”

“I know him very well. And it’s not a reflection of who he is at all,” said Poles, who was with the Chiefs’ personnel department for Pringle’s four seasons in 2018-21. “You don’t want your guys in the news at all . . . [so] it’s a disappointment. But we had a good conversation about it. We’re in a good place. We’ll keep [the details] internal.” 

Pringle was stopped near his home in Wesley Chapel on Saturday after he was observed squealing his tires, burning rubber and “doing a donut” in his 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat sports car. He was arrested after a check on his driver’s license revealed it had been suspended in February. 

Pringle, 28, signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Bears in free agency that includes $2 million in incentives. 

Piccolo Award winners

Defensive end Robert Quinn and running back Khalil Herbert were honored as the veteran and rookie winners of the prestigious Brian Piccolo Award for 2021 at a ceremony Tuesday at Halas Hall. 

The award, for which teammates cast votes, honors players who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Brian Piccolo, a Bears running back who died from embryonal cell carcinoma at 26 in 1970.

Quinn set a Bears record with 18œ sacks as an outside linebacker in 2021. Herbert, a sixth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech, rushed for 433 yards on 103 carries (4.2 average) and two touchdowns last season. 

Like Piccolo, Herbert was a star running back from Broward County, Florida. 

“I had a little knowledge [about the Piccolo story], being from South Florida,” Herbert said. “He went to St. Thomas Aquinas [in Fort Lauderdale], which is not too far down the street from me. I gotta go watch this movie [“Brian’s Song”]. I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m excited to go watch it.” 

Run-first offense?

Though quarterback Justin Fields will be the obvious focus as coordinator Luke Getsy installs a new offense, a more efficient running game is getting some underlying buzz. 

“I’m excited,” Herbert said. “I definitely think we’re going to use our run game this year, and it’s gonna allow us to open up the rest of the offense.” 

Getsy came from the Packers, who — with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback — effectively used two running backs. David Montgomery and Herbert look like a good fit in that model. 

“Definitely,” Herbert said. “Up there, they use both those backs really well and balance them out. It’s definitely exciting that they know how to do it, and in this offense, I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Unsung hero

Poles gave a shout-out to Bears director of football systems Mike Santarelli for diligent behind-the-scenes work in preparing the personnel department for the draft. 

“He does our system, our database,” Poles said. “I’ve been really demanding on him just in terms of making last-minute changes with our technology so our tools and visuals we’re using to make decisions and make them fast are up-and-running. He’s one an unbelievable job.” 

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