Don’t boo Mitch Trubisky when he returns to Soldier Field. That’d be petty, misguided and embarrassing.
All the exasperation of the Bears drafting should be directed at Ryan Pace. Boo him instead — if you can find him, that is.
Trubisky has been taking heat for Pace’s mistake of trading up to take him No. 2 overall in 2017 — turning down Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson — ever since he got booed at a Bulls playoff game the day after the draft. But, to both his credit and his detriment, he did everything right as he tried to live up to what the Bears thought they saw in him.
That’s why no one actually hates Trubisky, neither at Halas Hall nor beyond.
He never lost support from people in the building, including the locker room, because he worked constantly. This isn’t a guy who squandered his chance through recklessness and entitlement. His shortfalls in mastering the playbook and reading defenses weren’t from a lack of trying. He was gritty. And he never dodged blame.
“You earn trust by the way you handle yourself in practice and in meetings and on the game day,” coach Matt Nagy said. “Mitch is an extremely tough individual. Really, last year, it could have been easy for him to just say, “You know what, I’m not playing anymore, I got injured and I’m done.’ And he didn’t do that. He fought back.”
Unfortunately for Trubisky, talent matters most. Jay Cutler — the gold standard for modern Bears quarterbacks, sadly — was good enough on the field that no one cared much how he acted away from it.
And now that the Bears have moved on with a more impressive talent in rookie Justin Fields, there’s no point in wallowing in Trubisky’s disappointing four-year run.
“That’s still my guy, still my brother,” safety Eddie Jackson said. “I want the best for him and his family… He can put all this stuff behind him and prove people wrong.”
If Trubisky got the opportunity Nick Foles did a few years ago and jumped in for the Bills during the playoffs, Chicago would root for him. Obviously the Bears don’t think he’ll go on to be great, but they hope it happens for him.
And on that note, there was nothing profound about Trubisky saying last month that he sensed the organization “continuously believing in me less and less.”
That couldn’t have been more obvious. That’s exactly what’s happening when a team declines a fifth-year option, trades for a veteran at your position and benches you three games into the season. Of course the Bears lost faith. Clinging to it would’ve been delusional.
“I’m excited for him to go back to Chicago,” Bills running back Matt Breida said, “and show them they made a mistake.”
Let’s chill on that, Breida. It’s a preseason game.
Also, it will never be a mistake. Bailing on Trubisky was the smartest thing the Bears did in the entire ordeal. Regardless of whether he thrives with a new team, it wasn’t going to work out here.
Nearly everything about that boondoggle falls on Pace and Nagy.
“It would not be fair to put everything on him,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “There’s a lot of things that went into that. And I know that he’s a resilient guy and he’s going to do everything he can to have a successful career.”
Trubisky didn’t draft himself No. 2 overall, nor did he unnecessarily trade a package of picks.
Trubisky didn’t give himself a higher pre-draft grade than a future Hall of Famer in Mahomes.
Trubisky didn’t catch the Bears’ interest with his athleticism and then insist that he “win from the pocket” instead of relying on his mobility.
If anyone deserves booing, it’s not him. He did what he could. He simply wasn’t good enough. Pace is the one who should’ve known better.