Heading into free agency, the Chicago Bears knew what they wanted. With no inside linebacker worth mentioning on the roster, the Bears focused their attention on the market's top ILB: Danny Trevathan.
And they got him.
Trevathan yesterday signed a four-year deal worth $24.5 million, giving the Bears a 26-year-old linebacker coming off a Super Bowl championship with the Broncos.
Trevathan today said the presence of head coach John Fox, under whom he played for three seasons in Denver, was a major factor in his decision to come to Chicago.
"It played heavily," said Trevathan. "Especially, going back to him giving me my first opportunity to play, coaching me, helping me to want to be great and getting close to that. It definitely helped me getting here.
"He was always in my ear. He used to make funny quotes, funny sayings, 'I checked my rule book today, and it said you can be great.' Just stuff like that stuck with me. I always respected him and he was always in my ear telling me 'Danny no matter where you come from, you can go places, man. Sixth-round draft pick, people overlook you, all this and that, but you're here now, make a name for yourself.'"
Trevathan says he sees a lot of potential with the Bears' current group of defenders.
“I see a lot of hustle, attitude, and I see a lot of ambition in these guys," he said. "That’s stuff you can work with and I feel I fit great with this defense. I know some faces around here. I’ve met some of the guys. I feel like these guys are ready to push it to the next level. My job is to do whatever I need to do to help them get over that.”
The presence of Vic Fangio, Chicago's defensive coordinator, also helped sway Trevathan in Chicago's direction.
“This is one of the defenses I thrived in. Vic's defenses – he’s really a mastermind with it and one of the coolest defensive coordinators out there. So I’m really excited about that. And knowing the way he thinks, it’s going to be an easy transition, just talking to him, knowing this defense. I’m always willing to learn and that’s a great guy to learn from.
“He’s the wizard at scheming, making up plays and putting you in the best position possible. So I think it’s a great situation here.”
The Bears' big free-agent pickup last year, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, has often described his play style as "violent." It's an attitude with which Trevathan is very familiar.
"[McPhee] is a monster," said Trevathan. "Every time he’s putting his hands on somebody, it’s a train wreck. That’s similar to my style. I’m kind of back a little bit further, so I get a little bit more momentum. But to have somebody like that in front of you, and playing with my attitude, I think it could be spectacular with things we do. Hopefully our attitude covers all the defense, just starts getting contagious, like winning, just starts spreading to these guys. And I believe it will. They've got their head on right, and they are a great group of guys, and they’re ready to win."
At 6-1, 240, Trevathan is smaller than a typical 3-4 inside linebacker, yet he's not concerned with his size.
"I mean, shoot, they’ve just got to hit me," he said. "I mean, I’m not going to sit right there and let nobody hit me. I pack some punch. I don’t care how big you are. I don’t care how strong you are. It’s just me and you, right there. I’ve got faith in myself, and I hate losing."
Trevathan said his championship resume will not only help him continue to get better but will also make those around him better.
"To take it to the next level, I want everybody around me to experience what I experienced. That’s my thing. I’m not a selfish player. I’m a team player," he said. "I’m all about the atmosphere in the locker room and on the field, having fun and joking around. I’m looking forward to this team growing and this team going places they need to be and everybody getting what they deserve. We've just to go out there and do it."
A sixth-round pick out of Kentucky, Trevathan is used to having to prove himself and knows it will be no different with the Bears.
“I stay humble and hungry," he said. "In the world today, it’s easy to get big-headed and get full of yourself and overlook everybody. I believe in treating everybody equally and playing ball, man. And just loving the game of football. It’s not going to last forever. When I had my [knee] injury I thought it was over for me, but at the same I wanted to get back. So I fell back in love with [the game] and I don’t want that love to ever leave.”