LAKE FOREST, Ill. — It’s a positive thing that has happened for a few players throughout the over 100-year history of the NFL franchise and will again in 2023.
What’s unique is the story for each Chicago-area native who plays for the Bears, and Dan Feeney has his own as he joins the team in 2023.
For one, he’s the second Orland Park native and former Sandburg High School standout in as many years to play for the Bears. In 2022, it was offensive lineman Michael Schofield who represented both on the team, and now Feeney will do the same this year after the Bears acquired him from the Dolphins in August.
“He texted me and he was like ‘Hey, you following me around the NFL now? What’s going on?,” said Feeney of what Schofield said after he was traded to the Bears.
The seventh-year offensive lineman, who also played for the Chargers and Jets, also had his story on how he became a fan of the team. It concerns a family member and a song she’d like to play while Feeney was growing up.
“As a kid, my grandma would always put the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ on VHS and make me watch it when she was babysitting me,” said Feeney, who said his & her favorite player was Walter Payton. “So that was pretty cool.”
This was the start to Feeney’s fandom while would eventually lead to football at Sandburg and Indiana, where he was a first-team All-American in 2016. Drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Chargers in 2017, he’s played 96 games and had 64 starts in Los Angeles and New York.
Feeney was signed by the Dolphins this past offseason before his trade to Chicago.
He joins T.J. Edwards, Cole Kmet, Doug Kramer, Jack Sanborn and Robert Tonyan as the natives of the Chicago area who are currently on the Bears.
During his opening news conference, a number of hometown questions came up, which led to his revelation of becoming a Bears’ fan thanks to “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” Feeney was also asked if anyone had said he looks like the famed “Superfans” from the Saturday Night Live skit in the 1990s.
“I’ve gotten that a couple of times,” said Feeney in response. “Me and my buddies, we’ll pass the Instagram videos around of the ‘Superfans’ and, obviously, being from here, love it. Chris Farley is one of the best comics to ever do it, in my eyes.
“He’s just hilarious in that whole skit.”
While the reminicing was fun, it’s all buisness for Feeney, who has been catching up on the playbook as the 2023 season opener against the Packers this Sunday approaches. He’s currently listed as the backup center to Lucas Patrick, appreciating the opportunity to take the next step in his career with his hometown team.
“It was pretty cool. I put it on and looked in the mirror a little bit and I’m like ‘Wow, this is pretty sick, having that ‘C’ on you,'” said Feeney of putting on the Bears’ jersey. “It is cool, and you definitely feel a little bit of juice playing for your hometown team. It’s a cool feeling. It really is.”
It’s certainly something that’s he’s been shuffling towards during his entire football career.