Robert Quinn’s absence from the Chicago Bears’ mandatory minicamp six weeks ago fueled speculation that the veteran defensive end wanted to be traded while the team undergoes a renewal.
But after practicing the first day of training camp Wednesday at Halas Hall, Quinn indicated he’s OK with the Bears as long as they keep him.
Quinn said he skipped minicamp, and all the organized team activities leading up to it, because he was taking care of his body and trying to get fit mentally. Entering his 12th season and coming off one of the best years of his career with a Bears-record 18 ½ sacks, Quinn thought he knows what’s best for his body.
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When asked if he wanted to be traded, Quinn said, “I’ve been traded twice. You get tired of moving. I think I did a good job last year, but I guess I’ll continue to try to prove myself again. I hope to be here. But I guess if not, well, that’s out of my control.”
Asked again if he wanted to be in Chicago, he added: “Yes. I never expected to go anywhere.”
The 32-year-old Quinn has been around long enough to know players come and go from teams, and he sticks to the “it’s business” mantra when considering how many of his fellow Bears veterans are out of town this summer. , especially on defense Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks.
But Quinn said he won’t let changes to the team affect how he prepares.
“You can’t play this game if you’re not happy to be here because it’s one of the toughest games out there,” Quinn said. “Every day you have to buy to be able to give your best. That’s all I try to do every time I enter the building. I’m just trying to bring the best version of myself.”
Quinn, who is in the third season of a five-year, $70 million deal, would probably love to bring the best version of himself to a winning team, something the Bears aren’t expected to do this season. It would also make sense that such a team would have a use for a player with 101 career sacks from him.
But Quinn wouldn’t entertain that idea when asked about the possibility that general manager Ryan Poles will trade him to a contender for draft capital sometime in the next few months.
“If you think about all the what ifs, honestly, you’re going to start generating negative energy in the building,” Quinn said. “I’ve seen it before and it’s not a good thing. I’m just trying to go in with a positive spirit and prepare for the season as a Chicago Bear and take life as it comes.”
The Poles said Tuesday that they had not had a conversation with Quinn about the player wanting a trade. And while he’s not ruling out the possibility of moving Quinn in the future, Poles also noted that Quinn brings value even beyond the big numbers he could put up after quarterbacks this season.
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“It’s important to have guys that have experience, that have been successful in the league and know how to play and practice,” Poles said. “For me, that’s what it brings.”
Quinn conducted individual drills Wednesday as he moves toward full participation in practice. Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the team will manage the workload of some of its veterans on a case-by-case basis based on player needs.
Despite not working with Quinn much in person this summer, Eberflus said he’s kept in touch with him and feels he’s all for it.
“Your body feels great. His mind is good. He is ready to go,” Eberflus said.
And while he’s here, Quinn, who played under Eberflus’ mentor Rod Marinelli with the Dallas Cowboys, seems eager to see how he fares in the Bears’ new 4-3 defense.
“Knowing the type of defense we’re running, I’m very familiar with it,” he said. “Knock on wood, I plan to be successful on my own. I guess I know what I’m getting myself into, and that takes the weight off my shoulders. You’re not going to enter the building without knowing what’s going to happen. So I come in here knowing exactly what they want from me, exactly what they expect from me, and exactly what I need to do. Again, that makes life so much easier when you’re not confused.”