Chicago Bears: Vaccination rates, why they traded Anthony Miller – Chicago Tribune


The Chicago Bears reported to training camp at Halas Hall on Tuesday, and general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy addressed the media as players arrived.

Along with a lot of talk about quarterbacks Justin Fields and Andy Dalton, here are four other things we heard.

1. Pace said he thinks at least 85% of Bears players have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Nagy said his staff tried to educate and encourage players to get vaccinated, and then left it up to the individual.

NFL safety protocols are much stricter for unvaccinated players and include daily testing, masking and social distancing requirements and travel restrictions. The NFL and NFLPA have not yet agreed upon restrictions for teams that don’t reach a certain threshold.

“We just tell them, ‘Hey listen, for these different reasons it can be a lot more convenient from the football world and for these reasons it can be really good for you health-wise,’” Nagy said. “And then they’ve got to make their decision.”

NFL Network reported Tuesday the vaccination rate among players across the league was at 85%, with 14 teams at greater than 90%.

2. Pace said ‘the timing was right’ to trade wide receiver Anthony Miller.

Pace said he’s done many trades with Texans general manager Nick Caserio, and they’d been communicating throughout the summer.

“It just became a situation where, hey, both parties can benefit,” Pace said. “Once I realized we could get a fifth-round pick out of this — we’ve had a lot of success in that area of the draft. And I think, also, we feel good about the receiver room that we have, that we’ve kind of built. There’s a lot of competition there.”

The Bears return Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney as their top two receivers. They also brought in veterans Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin, and drafted Dazz Newsome in the sixth round to compete with Riley Ridley and Javon Wims.

Over Miller’s three seasons, the Bears didn’t get the consistency they wanted from the 2018 second-round draft pick. He finished with 134 catches for 1,564 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“He’s a talented player who has had a lot of production in this league,” Pace said. “With us drafting him, we want to see him go on and have success. He told Matt and I on the phone, ‘I want to make you guys proud.’ So as we made that trade, the communication was good. We exited on good terms. I think it will be a situation that’s good for all parties.”

3. The Bears hope having a full training camp at Halas Hall will benefit their players.

We invest so much in this facility and all of these state-of-the-art resources, and this is here for one thing — to make our players better,” Pace said. “We’ve acquired the right players, and it’s developing them once they’re here. We’re lucky that ownership has given us all of these assets to do that. From the training room to the weight room and nutrition, it’s all right here. We have one of the top facilities in the NFL. … You look at the timeline on the season, this is one of the most taxing times on (a player’s) body. So to be able to have all this at our disposal for them to recover, it’s huge.”

The Bears also are hosting the Miami Dolphins at two practices before their first preseason game and will have fans at 14 practices this summer.

“It’s important for us to have our fans in there and maximize that,” Pace said. “It’s pretty tight back there. We’re getting creative with how we’re doing that. It’s kind of a balance. This is great for our players, but also we want to make that a great experience for our fans.”

4. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman was in the building to practice with the Bears for the first time in more than a year.

Pace said all indications are that Goldman has been working hard and is in good shape. Smith, for one, was happy to see him.

“Big fan to see that guy in the building when I first came in,” Smith said. ” Very excited about that to have him back in the middle. He commands double teams, so very excited. It’s going to help a lot of people out.”

Running back Tarik Cohen and outside linebacker Robert Quinn were among other players whose statuses Pace addressed.

Pace said he expects Quinn to be out at practice when it begins Wednesday. Quinn didn’t practice during minicamp because of a lower back injury.

“Robert’s been here the last couple days as he came in early, and he’s looked good,” Pace said.