Quinn's massive impact on Bears will be felt long after trade


LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The NFL is a business, but sometimes that harsh reality of that hits a little differently.

Such is the case of Robert Quinn, who departed Chicago Wednesday after the Bears traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2023 fourth-round pick.

"If more people were like Robert, you know, it would be a much better place professionally and personally," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said Thursday in opening his press conference with a lengthy thank you to Quinn.

The trade of Quinn leaves a massive hole on the Bears' defensive line. One they will struggle to fill during the remaining 10 games of the 2022 season.

Quinn, who notched a franchise-record 18.5 sacks a season ago, didn't have the same production to open the current campaign. But stats aside, Williams was adamant Wednesday that Quinn had a major impact on the defense in the seven games he played this season. He and Quinn were working on ways to get him in the stat sheet more. That's a quest they won't see through to the finish line.

Robert Quinn's time as a Bear might start with the 18.5 sacks or the infamous "A man has two things, his work and his n--ts" quote when he accepted the 2021 Good Guy Award.

But this is a story about what Robert Quinn left behind in a Bears' locker room still shocked from the loss of its veteran leader.

"We hung out yesterday and went over the memories that we have had and shared and all the things that he has taught me," Trevis Gipson said Thursday. "He left me with a lot of tips and tendencies. You know, I’m just soaking up everything he gave me. It was sad. It was down. But it’s also part of the business. I’m understanding of that."

Gipson and rookie edge rusher Dominique Robinson will be tasked with filling the void Quinn left on the field. It's a big ask for two young players that Quinn took under his wing. Two players he left with important lessons not only about football, but about life.

“I think it’s just about slowing things down in life," Gipson said about what Quinn taught him that will stick with him. "Sometimes we get caught up on wins and losses, what’s for us and what’s not, wanting things and not getting things. It’s just a matter of being appreciative that we’re breathing, being appreciative that you are asking me questions and I’m being able to answer. Just little things like that and taking the everyday win. Small success everyday.”

Quinn has been in the Bears' locker room every day since Chicago drafted Gipson out of Tulsa. Every day of his NFL life, Gipson has had Quinn to bounce ideas off, to learn from, and bond with. That's not something that can be replaced.

"It’s a mountain of things that he has taught me. I couldn’t be more appreciative," Gipson said.

For Robinson, a former dual-threat quarterback turned wide receiver turned edge rusher, he found not only a mentor but also someone who flowed through life the same way he did.

"It was a lot of how he carried himself," Robinson said. "I’m not as quiet as Rob, but I don’t speak much. I don’t have the urge to get out and start talking. I’m the type of guy that will lead by example. I won’t go out of my way to say something unless I feel that I have to. That’s how Rob was. He didn’t say much.

"I just enjoyed his old soul. Honestly, me and him are kind of very similar. I’m an old soul as well. I love old music. I don’t listen to a lot of ra-ra stuff. Being able to see him and see some similarities, I was like, ‘I like Rob.’ Honestly, man, I enjoy Rob and it was a blessing to be able to sit behind him and learn things from him so I didn’t have to put everything on my back.”

RELATED: After trading Quinn to Eagles, Bears should follow Philly's path

General manager Ryan Poles knew that trading Quinn would be jarring for his locker room. The human element wasn't lost on him. That's why he had head coach Matt Eberflus and his staff hold a team meeting to discuss the deal.

That's a nice gesture. One seen is some NFL circles, but not a common one.

But neither are people like Robert Quinn.

"His demeanor, his personality, just his energy, too, was phenomenal," defensive line coach Travis Smith said of Quinn. "Great person, great human being, and that's with limited words. He didn't have to say much, but it was like soft-spoken and carrying a big stick.

"Just his presence, his demeanor. He didn't have to say it. But when he went out to practice, the way he carried, the way he worked, and the way he played, it said enough. He didn't have to say anything. From him, I really appreciated and valued that. I'm not going to forget that."

Robert Quinn will return to Chicago in Week 15 when the Eagles face the Bears. Depending on the road his NFL life takes, the story of Robert Quinn and the Bears could end that December afternoon by the lake.

But his imprint on Gipson, Robinson, and the rebuilding Bears will remain long after the end of Robert Quinn's Bears chapter.

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