Charles Leno proposes to girlfriend after Bears clinch NFC North
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Bears left tackle Charles Leno Jr. had a good day Sunday.
In the minutes after the Bears clinched the NFC North by defeating the Packers at Soldier Field, Leno got down on a knee and proposed to longtime girlfriend Jennifer Roth at midfield.
In the middle of the Bears’ ‘‘C,’’ he held out a blue Tiffany box with a ring inside.
Tight end Trey Burton and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Sherrick McManis jumped around when she said yes.
‘‘She was surprised,’’ Leno said. ‘‘She was shaking. She was crying.’’
Leno said he was planning to propose to Roth, whom he has dated for five years, but accelerated his plans once he found out the Bears had a chance to clinch.
‘‘I had to speed up the process,’’ he said.
Leno joked that he kept the ring in his sock all game. In reality, he gave it to someone to hold.
‘‘He planned it pretty well,’’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky said. ‘‘Luckily, everyone did their job today so that could go right. And I’m very excited for him and his fiancée.’’
Leno didn’t tell many teammates about his plan because he was fearful Roth would find out. He asked her dad for permission, then asked coach Matt Nagy for the OK to propose on the field.
‘‘She’s, like, my best friend,’’ Leno said.
Why the fake?
Nagy said he saw a chance to try to grab the momentum when, with the Bears leading 14-6 and facing fourth-and-two from the Packers’ 49 in the third quarter, he decided to fake a punt.
‘‘If you convert on that, if you hit that, then it really flips the other way,’’ he said.
It didn’t work. Upback Benny Cunningham was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
After the Packers pulled even at 14-14, Nagy went 0-for-2. On third-and-one from the Packers’ 23, he had running back Tarik Cohen take a snap out of shotgun. Cohen fumbled on a failed fake to running back Jordan Howard, and the Packers recovered.
Nagy reiterated that he’s prepared for the media to ‘‘come up here and crush me’’ for such decisions in a loss. He said he will stay aggressive, though.
‘‘That’s what we’re going to do,’’ Nagy said. “That’s not going to change. I accept that, I understand that and that’s who we are.’’
This and that
Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch left after injuring his right elbow on the first drive of the third quarter. Nagy said
Lynch will have his elbow looked at in the coming days. Lynch has three sacks and one interception.
• Running back Aaron Jones, who had run for six touchdowns in the Packers’ last five games, left with a knee injury and didn’t return. Jones finished with four carries for eight yards.
• Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said that his ‘‘groin just tightened up’’ toward the end of the first half and that it ‘‘bothered me a little bit’’ in the second.