When the Bears hired Matt Eberflus to take over as their next head coach, they brought him in for his ability to lead. They brought him in because they believed his HITS philosophy would bring about an important culture change on the field. They brought him in because the defense needed to get back on track. Now that they have Eberflus in Halas Hall, the Bears are also learning he’s a pretty good recruiter, too.
“Honestly, I was getting ready to go with the Colts,” said new free agent signing Justin Jones last week. “Got a call late last night from coach Flus. He told me, look, this will be a great opportunity for me. He said, ‘I really think you fit right in with our guys, you fit right in with our scheme, you fit right in with what we’re trying to accomplish. The way you go about your work, the way you go about as a character, as a man, it just fits in with what we have going on with the Bears.’ I just fell in love with the conversation we had and I believed in what he was talking about and here we are today.”
The time between that phone call and Jones’ flight to Chicago was about 10 hours. Jones said he was so close to becoming a Colt, that if he hadn’t received that call from Eberflus on Thursday night, he’d have been in Indianapolis on Friday signing a new contract, instead of Chicago.
“I believe in what Coach Flus was talking about,” Jones said. “I knew I was going to fit right in."
New linebacker Nick Morrow didn’t even have to talk to Eberflus to know he was interested in joining his defense.
“I think his resume speaks for itself,” Morrow said. “It’s in the tape, right? You see what he did in Indy, with the turnovers they had, the defense that they had together, and the staff they put together here. So I think that in itself was his resume.”
Morrow said he and Eberflus haven’t talked about a specific role in the defense for him yet. But whether he plays the Will, Mike or Sam linebacker spot, he’s happy to be with the Bears.
“I expect to come in and compete. I have no expectations as far as what role and whatever it is,” Morrow said. “I’m here to compete and whatever happens, happens.”
For Al-Quadin Muhammad, it was his previous relationship with Eberflus that convinced him to come to Chicago. He and Eberflus spent their entire four-year Colts tenures together, and Eberflus helped Muhammad develop from a rotational lineman into a 17-game starter. If anyone knows what Flus brings to a team, it’s Muhammad.
“He brings the juice,” Muhammad said. “Nobody wants to win more than Eberflus and I think a lot of people around here are going to see that. We’re all in this business to win. To win a Super Bowl. He’s going to give you his all.
“I mean, who wouldn’t want to play for a guy that brings the juice, that wants to win, that’s the same guy every day? A great person. Very family oriented. He’s all about family. And not only that, he’s all about winning. But not only that, he does it in a way so he’s teaching you a lot of things along the way that a lot of us, as young men, will carry with us for the rest of our lives. So, it’s just an honor to be a part of this culture, the family, Chicago Bears. We’re looking to do great things here. It’s an honor.”
The Bears won’t win any games with free agent signings or press conferences in March. But based on what the newest Bears have said, it sounds like Eberflus is well on his way to building a new foundation at Halas Hall.