LAKE FOREST – There are going to be plenty of firsts for him as he starts his head coaching career in the National Football League.
But Matt Eberflus faced a unique situation for even the most veteran of coaches on Wednesday afternoon.
That’s when one of his best players – defensive end Robert Quinn – was traded to the Eagles in exchange for a 2023 fourth round pick. Gone was not only an effective pass rusher that helped the defense but also a mentor to a number of young players on defense.
So how did Eberflus handle the trade once news spread through Halas Hall?
Well he first went to go find Quinn in the locker room to have a chat.
“Talked to him man-to-man, face-to-face, and I thought that was important just to visit with him,” said Eberflus. “We visited for a while and then I went back and visited with him again, and that was that.”
After that, the attention turned to the players who would remain with the Bears for the rest of the 2022 season, addressing the major move with them. Instead of just talking about Quinn’s impact on the field, Eberflus’ words were more on replacing his leadership qualities.
“I always go back to the message that I tell the guys is that’s everyone is a leader,” said Eberflus. “So the first part of the leadership is leading yourself. So we ask all of our guys to lead, and then we have four captains, a leadership council, and all that, but to me, everybody leads, and they do a good job of that.
“They do a good job of encouraging each other, being there for each other as teammates, and that’s what we expect. That’s no different than if it was him or anybody else. I think we have strong leadership inside the locker room and throughout the entire team, from the first man all the way up to the last guy, and we have strong leadership in our coaching staff.”
On the field, the duty of replacing Quinn will fall on third-year defensive end Trevis Gipson along with rookie Dominique Robinson. Al Quadin-Muhammad has started all seven games opposite of Quinn in his first season with the Bears.