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Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky made the Pro Bowl as an alternate last year. | Gregory Payan/Associated Press

‘It’s tough being out’: Bears QB Mitch Trubisky wants more than Pro Bowl honors

SHARE ‘It’s tough being out’: Bears QB Mitch Trubisky wants more than Pro Bowl honors
SHARE ‘It’s tough being out’: Bears QB Mitch Trubisky wants more than Pro Bowl honors

ORLANDO, Fla. — Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, with his “boys from North Carolina” when he got the call from coach Matt Nagy.

“What are you doing next week?” Nagy asked.

“Nothing,” Trubisky said.

“You want to go to the Pro Bowl?” Nagy said

“Stop. Stop. Stop messing with me.”

“No. For real.”

“I’m there.”

And there was Trubisky on Wednesday at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Disney World. Sunglasses on. Beard trimmed. Back on social media. A huge smile on his face.

“Everyone says [the Pro Bowl is] a positive experience, just the people you meet, the players who are around,” Trubisky said after the first practice. “You try to learn, soak it in, get a little better, stay healthy and just have a lot of fun this week. So I was so excited when I got the call.”

Trubisky said he was even more excited when center Cody Whitehair and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. got their own calls.

“Cody called me, and I started going nuts,” Trubisky said.

Similar to Trubisky, Whitehair and Leno are alternates who replaced other players, but their additions gave the Bears seven players in the Pro Bowl, the most of any team.

For a team that lacked stars just a few years ago, the Bears saw several emerge this season, none bigger or more important than Trubisky. He’ll always be compared to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Texans’ Deshaun Watson — the two quarterbacks drafted after him in the first round in 2017 — and there he was practicing with them.

Trubisky’s Pro Bowl nod was a reward for what he accomplished in his second season. He tuned out the relentless criticism of his performances while learning a difficult, nuanced system under a new coach, and he still played well enough to help lead the Bears to their first playoff appearance since the 2010 season.

“It’s awesome for [Trubisky],” Whitehair said. “It’s an awesome honor. But he’s also worked really hard to get to the point he is. It’s very deserving.”

Of course, Trubisky didn’t want to be here. Personal goals only matter so much. The Bears’ loss against the Eagles in the playoffs still stung.

All the fun in the sun couldn’t hide that fact. He didn’t watch any other playoff games because of those feelings.

“Honestly, it’s really hard for me to watch,” he said. “It’s tough being out.”

So he went out. His trip to Nashville, where he had lunch with teammate Benny Cunningham, who lives there, was part of that. He needed to get away.

“I’m a big fan of country music,” Trubisky said. “Might as well take a little trip and get out of the snowstorm that was coming through.”

His goal right now is to decompress. He said he hasn’t reviewed the season.

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“No. 1, [it’s] because the way it ended and how tough it was to see [the season] come to an end like this, especially with all the momentum we had going,” he said. “But [I’m] very eager to get back to work and excited for what we’re going to do this year and the coming years.”

Is Trubisky where he needs to be as an NFL quarterback? Absolutely not. Just ask him. The Pro Bowl is nice and all, but he aspires to be in the Super Bowl. Visiting Atlanta next week for appearances and promotions doesn’t cut it.

“I wish we could still be playing, but you just got to stay positive and pick the next best thing,” he said. “That’s coming to the Pro Bowl and visiting the Super Bowl next week. It’s just staying busy, always working out and just enjoying this ride.”

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