On his recovery from surgery to repair a broken right ankle
I'm good. I have a good support system. First time really being out like this. Initially I was like, ‘Ooh, I kind of like the break.' I don't have to hit anything. And then it’s a week into it, and you’re going stir crazy and you realize how important the team is to your health, mentally and emotionally. We have a great group of guys, regardless of record. The men in this room are guys that I love and that I really do enjoy playing with. And I’m hoping this will be the same group of guys that can get it turned around.
On a second layer to his recovery because of his upcoming shoulder surgery
This is my first time with surgery, really or anything like anesthesia, so that sucked. I did not like that. Lost a bunch of weight (down to 280 pounds). Now I know this shoulder (surgery) will be a lot less invasive, and also it won’t be something that I’m walking on or trying to walk on. So being able to walk here in the next few weeks will be nice, and then to training and just trying to build the tank.
On if the team can do anything to prevent such a rash of injuries in the future
I don’t know. I think I’m just going to put those packing peanuts and bubble wrap all over myself next year. I’m going to look like the Christmas Story kid. It’ll be summer months, I’ll be in like three North Face (jackets). But, yeah, honestly, it’s football. It’s a tortured existence from a physical standpoint. You’re never going to be healthy. Nobody’s healthy. Nobody’s 100 percent. You show up to camp 100 percent — you do the conditioning test, you’re at 98 percent, and then you try to hover in the 80s to 90s the whole year. So when you get guys who are getting dinged, guys who are on scooters, casts, surgical procedures, it takes a toll. Unfortunately, I’m not able to be around as much as I’d like to. A lot of those guys aren’t able to be around as much as they’d like to. But there’s a plan in place to get healthy. And hopefully we’ll get the better luck of the die next year.
On what is his greatest source of optimism about the Bears' future
I don’t necessarily know if I would say it’s the greatest source of optimism, but I just know what this city is like when the Bears win. And I had a taste of it my rookie year, and I sniffed the playoffs and we lost by a close margin there. I want to get back to that. I want to go to the playoffs. I want to have 10 wins before we get to the playoffs and have an opportunity to have home-field advantage. A frickin’ playoff game in Chicago — can you imagine that? Right now I know it’s not something that’s realistic, being 3-13 and we’re in the offseason. But these are things than when I lay my head on the pillow at night I think about and it keeps me up pretty late. That’s what’s going to get me through this process, because I know I’ll be able to run out that tunnel again.
On whether he stood behind his assertion Sunday that the Bears would win the Super Bowl next season
On whether the Bears have enough talent and depth to join mentioned alongside the Patriots
We’re the Chicago Bears. We’re just like them. The only difference is just a few plays here and there. We went to New England and practiced (in August). They know. If you were there and watched the practices, they know. Unfortunately, in New England they’re doing a great job. I give them all the credit. Coach Belichick’s is doing a great job and Tom Brady is a hell of a quarterback.
On determining where he will play next season
That’ll come with time. But I definitely want to be here, definitely want to be with this staff, these players. There’s definitely something special brewing here. Hopefully I can be a part of that.
On what he learned during his opportunity to start
I think the more looks you can see on defense, the more ingrained in your head certain plays become. The more you get within an offense, the more that terminology — those words — come in your head. I think just the fact that I can play. I can hang in this league. I did a lot of great things.