The Bears frequently talk about creating a culture, know it means taking care of their own


Spirits were high in Halas Hall’s newly-renovated locker room on Sunday afternoon, which tends to happen when someone gets paid. At times it was hard to even hear Cody Whitehair talk about his 5-year, $52 million extension over the cheers and playful teasing from teammates that walked by. 

“It’s huge for us. We had a big day in our O-line room,” Kyle Long said with a smile. 

“I feel like I just got paid a little bit too,” joked Mitch Trubisky. 

For those counting, that’s now four straight years of in-house extensions taken care of during the opening weeks of the season: Long in 2016, Charles Leno and Akiem Hicks in 2017, and Eddie Goldman last year. For a team that so frequently talks about, as Nagy puts it, “creating their own stars,” the Bears are also clearly intent on showing that they reward their own. 

“They’re very loyal,” Whitehair said. “It speaks a lot about this organization and paying players  that are drafted here…  

“... They care about me so much, and it just means the world to me to stay here for another five years.”

The Bears now have their starting five offensive linemen signed through at least the next two seasons. Kyle Long has a club option for next season, and comes off the books in 2021; Bobby Massie and Charles Leno are signed through 2022. James Daniels’ rookie contract runs through 2021 as well. And while there’s certainly room for improvement – especially in the run game – having continuity never hurts. 

“It allows us to know that we’re going to be together, and count on each other and continue playing next to each other and protecting Mitch,” Whitehair said. 

“I think that one thing it does - it takes a lot of thoughts out of Cody’s head and he can just focus on what we’ve gotta focus on,” Long added. 

“We’ve all known that Cody was going to get taken care of, and we know that if we do what we’re supposed to do in our room on a daily basis, that all of us would be taken care of in the proper way. It allows us to focus on football.” 

The Bears frequently talk about culture building, and creating their own legacy. Rewarding hard-working players that buy in – players like Whitehair, Goldman, and Akiem Hicks – goes a long way, both inside Halas Hall and out. 

“That’s what you’ve got to do. You have to be a good locker room,” Tarik Cohen said. “Everybody has to be a great teammate, you know, that’s when you get that dynasty feeling. That’s where you know the culture when you come here.” 

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