Joining the Bears last season was a huge highlight in my NFL career so far. Knowing how historic the organization is and the fact that I would be able to play so much more was amazing. I was able to start 16 out of the 17 games of the season, only missing our last playoff game due to an injury.
When I joined the team, it had a streak of winning only four or five games per season for the past three to four years, which wasn’t very promising in the eyes of most. But we had a new, young team with a new leader, and we were determined to not only change the culture and morale of the team, we wanted to bring a winning atmosphere back to Chicago. We had to adjust how we believed in ourselves as a whole. If you believe you will lose games, you will. If you expect to win, your chances to come out victorious are a lot higher.
Soon, I’ll be entering Year 2 of my four-year contract with the Bears, and I know we have a target on our back. After winning the division, people now expect us to be in the running. Last year, we were able to sneak in while no one was paying attention to us, but midway through the season, as we began to win games continually, suddenly our games were switched to prime time and people started watching us more closely. We had gained respect from the league and our opponents.
My team was amazing. The guys were a lot of fun and worked hard. The coaches believed in us and poured into us to make us great. But we, being a young team, honestly had no idea how good we were until we kept winning. From Day 1, everyone was positive and excited for the season, but we did not know how good we could become together.
We started the season in Green Bay, where they were celebrating their team’s 100th season. The Bears vs. the Packers is a huge rivalry, and we were blowing them out at halftime! But they then came back to barely squeak out a win. This, though a loss, was a critical moment for us as a team. There was so much excitement on the field until Aaron Rodgers came and did what Aaron Rodgers does. We could have lost the morale on the team at that point, but we didn’t. We all continued to buy in and not give up.
Playing football in Chicago is the real deal. They know how to do it! The fans were incredible and midway through the season they incorporated a siren on third downs. People would go nuts! They would even get excited about how cold it was out there. And man, it can get cold at Soldier Field. It was really cool to see how much the fans backed us up.
Of course, we didn’t want to lose the last game, but we know we have a lot of the same guys returning this year and there is a sense of change in the air — change for the good. We’re only going to build on the strong foundation we set for the season. We’re not going to let a loss like that happen again.
— Trey Burton, Chicago Bears tight end
Trey Burton is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Trey’s Increase profile here: http://theincreasefootball.com/author/trey-burton/
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