Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and right tackle Bobby Massie anticipate making life a little easier for the Chicago Bears, coaches and players alike.
The two free agent acquisitions came to Halas Hall on Thursday after agreeing to terms Wednesday, and expressed a strong desire to be part of the rebuilding process under coach John Fox — even though it meant ending runs with successful teams. Trevathan won the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos last month and Massie was with Arizona.
“I feel like these guys are ready to push it to the next level,” said Massie, who moves in at right tackle while Kyle Long slides over to right guard. “My job is to do whatever I need to do to help them get over that.”
Trevathan is reunited with Fox, his head coach in Denver, and called the past association a major reason for his decision to leave the NFL champions and enlist with a 6-10 team that hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2010.
“It played heavily,” the former University of Kentucky star said. “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, and there’s some familiar faces around here, so it helped me make an easy transition.”
Trevathan called Fox a factor with the Broncos in the linebacker’s rising from a lightly regarded draft pick to a player who could command a four-year deal widely reported at $24.5 million.
“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 which stuck with me,” Trevathan said of Fox, who was fired by the Broncos before Gary Kubiak took over and led them to the Super Bowl. “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.’”
It was Long who was in Massie’s ear when the signing period approached.
“Me and Kyle, we’ve been talking about this for the past two weeks,” Massie said. “He’s been … trying to get me to come to Chicago and recruit me and things, and once I finally did give him notice that I was coming, he was screaming and shouting on the phone.”
Long was regarded as more effective at right guard, although he made the Pro Bowl at right tackle last year after making it two years at guard. Long had expressed a preference to play guard.
Trevathan joins a 3-4 defense that rose from 30th two straight years to 19th last year after Vic Fangio took over as coordinator.
“This is one of the defenses I thrived in,” Trevathan said. “Vic’s defenses — he’s really a mastermind with it and one of the coolest defensive coordinators out there.”
Both players came after overcoming obstacles.
A knee injury in 2014 limited Trevathan to three games after becoming a starter in 2013. Last season, he started 15 games alongside Brandon Marshall.
“Football is what I wanted to do my whole life, so I knew I had to get my knee right,” Trevathan said. “I knew I had to do whatever I needed to do to get it right. And fortunately I had Brandon there and he just had surgery on his foot. So he pushed me and I pushed him.”
Massie missed two games last season with a league substance policy violation following a DUI.
“It’s behind me,” the 6-foot-6, 316-pound Massie said. “Everybody makes mistakes. That was a mistake I made and I lived and I learned from it.
“That’s not something I see happening again in the future. That’s behind me.”
While both players expressed some reverence for joining one of the league’s oldest franchises, it was Trevathan who had some explaining to do.
Trevathan, who had two fumble recoveries in the Super Bowl, joined Marshall after beating Carolina in saying their defense was better than the fabled 1985 Bears.
Now a Bear, he backtracked a bit.
“I was in the moment then,” Trevathan said. “It’s not my place to speak on that.
“I wasn’t there back in the ’85 Bears, but it’s just an honor to be mentioned among names like that, a great defense like that. It’s not my place to say where we fit, but it’s my job to continue to play great and make my name available with those.”