Bears start voluntary offseason workout program

The Bears are back to work after beginning their voluntary offseason workout program Monday.

By virtue of having a new head coach, the Bears are allowed to begin their program earlier than those with returning coaches. They are one of four teams starting workouts Monday. Others with new coaches, such as the Vikings, opted to start next week.

The Bears can’t do any on-field work. Per NFL rules, they’re limited to strength and conditioning, meetings and rehab. Players and coaches will get to know each other, which is no small thing: the Bears replaced every single coordinator and position coach during the offseason.

Matt Eberflus’ new-coach status also allows him to host an additional voluntary veteran minicamp. He’ll hold it April 19-21 at Halas Hall.

The Bears will have OTAs for three weeks starting May 16 and a mandatory veteran minicamp starting June 14.

“We get to bring them in April 4, and we’re excited about that …” Eberflus said at last week’s NFL owner’s meetings. “What can the guys do? I know the first couple weeks we don’t get them –[to] put our hands on them — but after that we’ve got the voluntary minicamp and then you’ve got Phase 2 into OTAs.

“That’s a big piece of the evaluation of our roster — you know, what we’re going to bring in –and we’re certainly excited about that too as coaches. You look at the skill level of each guy and how can they fit and compete as you start putting in, laying your foundation, your foundational pieces for what you believe in. And that’s a key component. This nine weeks is a big part of that going into mandatory minicamp.”

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