Pro Bowl alternate Mitch Trubisky: I haven’t ‘played my best football yet’
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Drafted in the fourth round in 2017, Tarik Cohen was a relatively unknown running back from North Carolina A&T.
On Tuesday, he became a Pro Bowl return man.
“It means a lot,” Cohen said Wednesday before quoting the rapper Drake. “I started from the bottom; now I’m here.”
Two seasons ago, Kyle Fuller didn’t play a game after what was believed to be a routine knee operation during the preseason.
He’s now a Pro Bowl cornerback.
“Just trusting myself and what I could do,” Fuller said. “Just a matter of time. . . .
“Just from the fans, the players, coaches, everyone around the NFL, it’s a blessing to have that respect.”
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky knows he still has to earn that respect.
While the Bears had five players voted to the Pro Bowl — outside linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, safety Eddie Jackson, Fuller and Cohen — Trubisky was one of seven named as alternates.
When asked if being an alternate meant something, Trubisky wasn’t sure.
“Yes and no,” he said. “I don’t know. It’s cool to get recognized. But I definitely don’t feel like I’ve played my best football yet.”
The Bears didn’t release exactly where Trubisky fell on the alternate list, but it figures to take more than a few injuries — or Super Bowl commitments — to NFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks Drew Brees, Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers to get him on a flight to Orlando, Florida.
Among NFC quarterbacks who have thrown more than 200 passes, he ranks 11th in passer rating.
“I feel like you’ve got to appreciate how far you’ve come — which I have,” Trubisky said. “But I know I still have a long way to go. It’s cool to get recognized, but all the credit goes to my teammates. They’re the reason I got a recognition like that.”
Team success leads to individual honors, not the other way around. A year ago, the Bears had no Pro Bowl players — “We were shut out,” Cohen said — but things have turned around for the 10-4 NFC North champions.
“I think the Pro Bowl, it just kinda goes to individuals, but you forget about the team, how much help you had to get there,” Fuller said. “And some guys [should] get some more attention.”
If Trubisky keeps improving — and, more important, the Bears keep winning — he’ll be among those players. But that might be a conversation for a different year.
“I just want to make sure that I continue to keep the first thing first,” Trubisky said. “[And that’s] winning games for this team and continuing to get better.
‘‘I know if I just keep getting better, everything else will take care of itself.”