LAKE FOREST – Many thought the move could happen at some point during the 2020 season, but many weren’t expecting that particular moment.
That included Mitchell Trubisky.
“More than anything, I was caught off guard,” said the quarterback when he was benched in the second half of the Week 3 game against the Falcons. “I think in the beginning of the season I was starting to build momentum and then it kinda felt like a blindside.
“Then I decided to embrace a new role.”
It’s one that Trubisky has held since the end of September, going through October and part of November as the backup before a shoulder injury knocked him out of the lineup completely. That happened on the only play which he’s been on the field since he was pulled against Atlanta, when he ran a designed run against the Saints at Soldier Field in Week 8.
Now he’s back in the starting role for the Bears with Nick Foles continuing to deal with a hip injury. For the moment, it completes a two month experience that Trubisky had never hoped to go through when he took over the Bears’ starting job in Week 5 of the 2017 season.
“When you’re not in the starter role, people don’t pay attention to you as much, there not catering to how they want you to get better or evolve. There was a little bit where I felt like I was on my own and I was like ‘I have to continue to push myself and get better.'”
There were plenty of reasons for Trubisky to do so, considering that the next step in his career will depend upon what happens at the end of this season. His original four-year contract with the Bears expires once the season is complete, and with the team not picking up his fifth-year option, Sunday’s start serves as showcase of the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
He’s had a few weeks on the scout team to get ready for his moment with the first team again, and Trubisky believes that may actually aid him in his attempt to win the job back for good.
“I think I actually thrive in an enviornment like that,” said Trubisky of having to prove himself as a backup. “It’s back to ‘Where do you want to be, where do you want to go, what to you want to do with your career. I was just finding ways to push myself on my own, whether it’s getting up earlier or doing more recovery, working out more in the weight room or studying more film.
“Whatever it is, continue to find ways to get better. After a few days, I really embraced scout team. I was testing throws I wouldn’t normally test if I were taking the starting reps, and I felt like that was a lot of fun.”
Even if watching from the sidelines wasn’t as much during an unusual stretch of Trubisky’s career.