Bears’ McCaskey has positive vibes, even with Forte not around
LAKE FOREST – There is still the newness of a renovated Halas Hall that surrounds him. It’s a change that’s been around for a bit, but not too long.
Not having guys like Lance Briggs, Peanut Tillman and other mainstays of the franchise around the Lake Forest facility is a bit different for George McCaskey and others. It’s unfamiliarity that’s apart of a total regime change after a porous 2014 season.
“Anytime there is a new season there is going to be part of a transition,” said McCaskey of the changes. “Charles and Lance have been great Bears. We’ll just have to get used to it and carry on.”
That will be a process that takes a few months with new General Manager Ryan Gase, head coach John Fox along with a new staff taking over the reigns at Halas Hall. While some of that can produce some tribulations, it can also bring a new vibe and energy to a club that usually comes with an influx of new people.
“Vibe and energy are two good words,” said McCaskey when asked about the enthusiasm of the building with a lot of new faces. “Ryan and John have really energized the building. They are working very well together from what I can see. A lot of positive energy.
“We’re looking forward to the draft and the offseason workouts and getting after it.”
The former is the first of things on the docket for the Bears who thanks to last season’s 5-11 record have the 7th overall selection in the draft. Perhaps just as big of a story for McCaskey and the organization is the return of the draft to Chicago for the first time since 1964.
As part of the three-day draft the city has put on a number of events in and around the Auditorium Theatre in an attempt to roll out the red carpet for the league’s selections.
“It’s about time it got back to Chicago, right? After 50-some years,” said McCaskey. “We think it’s going to be great. I promised the commissioner three days of ideal weather and looking at the five-day forecast it seems to be holding.
“Looking forward to Grant Park being a great festival for the fans of football.”
One event George and the McCaskey family look forward to each year is the ceremony that took place on Tuesday-the awarding of the offensive and defensive Brian Piccolo Awards. That’s where one of the major talking points of these offseason training workouts emerged as Matt Forte was not in attendance to accept his award voted on by teammates.
A statement on behalf of Forte was read at the ceremony. While McCaskey said he doesn’t know what communication the running back has had with Pace or Fox, he doesn’t take offense that Forte wasn’t present at the ceremony.
“It’s a personal decision. It’s up to Matt and I think that decision should be respected,” said McCaskey of Forte. “We’d like to get him here for practice but we know Matt takes very good care of himself.”
Later on Tuesday, Forte posted this to Instagram concerning his absence from minicamp.
View this post on Instagram
So with all these media reports saying I'm skipping "voluntary" W/O to leverage a contract it's time to set the record straight. If the Bears want to give me a contract ext. they will; if they don't they won't. I'm not mad or holding a grudge. I don't operate like that. I'm not there because I'm finishing my third week of rigorous speed training in which we do not do at Halas hall. This was already my plan as of seasons end last year because after evaluating myself (which all players should do) I felt I was missing something. As for missing voluntary minicamp. There is OTA's (phase 2) and mandatory minicamp in which I will be present for. This is not an explanation of guilt. This is an explanation because I value you all as fans. But what I do not value is your opinion on what I should do to best prepare for the season. As for the piccolo award this training trip was planned long before our offseason schedule was released to us. I value this award greatly as it is my second time winning this prestigious award. Unfortunately my decision to work on my body and craft in preparation for the season did not coincide. I've come to realize that this year along with each reception or carry might be my last in a Bears uniform. So with that being said its all LOVE Chicago. #ialwaysshowup
Kyle Fuller was given the defensive Piccolo Award on Tuesday after a rookie season in which he collected 65 tackles and four interceptions. While honored to receive the prestigious award, he did understand that he along with the rest of the team will have to elevate their game to live up to the franchise’s names after winning just five games last season.
“It motivates you a lot,” said Fuller of trying to improve after last season. “Every time we talk about the type of team, anything in the past that Chicago is, you have live up to that. It definitely motivates the guys to live up to that.”
According to the team’s chairman, there are people in the building to make sure that happens.