The Chicago Bears finished 2014 with a 5-11 record. It was an embarrassing all-around performance on the field but off the field, the Bears took things up a notch.
There was in-fighting between players and coaches all season. Players erupted in the post-game locker room, the offensive coordinator called out the quarterback through the media, and a long-standing power struggle between the head coach and general manager resulted in Jay Cutler’s benching last week.
It was, far-and-away, the most dysfunctional Bears season of the past 20 years.
“It was just too much. We were front-page news too many times,” Charles Tillman said following today’s 13-9 loss to the Vikings in the season finale. “In years past we haven’t been that. That’s not how we operated.”
Tillman said there is arguing and fighting on every NFL team, yet when it got outside of the locker room is when Chicago’s season began to tumble downhill.
“This year there was a lot of trust broken,” said Tillman. “I don’t care who you are or what you are, you’ll always have conflict. It’s how you resolve that conflict. When you do have conflict, you need to let that conflict stay in-house and then resolve and work through it. This year we didn’t have that.
“I think we need to get back to our roots, or they need to get back to their roots. There was a way things were done and things were handled. Everybody wants to get things back to the way they used to be as far as winning and having team unity and when things go wrong keeping it in-house.”
Martellus Bennett said the team needs to flush the drama next season if they have any chance of improving.
“Everybody was put in a difficult situation. It was an uncomfortable situation,” Bennett said. “Adversity came from several different areas, whether it was in-house or out-house, whatever it may be. Most of that [expletive] needs to go in the out-house.”
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.