The new Bears regime of Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus has been challenged early. They had to sell the blockbuster trade of Khalil Mack to the fans. They’ve had to navigate rumors that Robert Quinn wants out of town, too. Then there’s been the reported holdout of Roquan Smith as the star linebacker wants a new deal. But the most frustrating development of the first few months of Poles and Eberflus’ tenure has to be the rash of arrests among the players they signed to revamp the culture at Halas Hall.
It started with Byron Pringle, who was arrested for reportedly doing donuts in his car, on a suspended license, and with a kid in the backseat. That’s been addressed by Poles, and both the GM and wide receiver say it’s settled and they’re moving forward. But that wasn’t all. A couple months later, Matt Adams showed up in the blotter for misdemeanor firearm possession. He was cited for having a high-capacity magazine and illegal bullets within city limits, which is a municipal code violation. A couple weeks after that, David Moore made headlines when he was arrested on drug and weapons charges. According to TMZ, Moore was picked up after falling asleep in a car in a Taco Bell drive through.
“As a manager, it bothered me a lot,” Poles said about the string of arrests. “Anytime your phone goes off and there’s an issue, you’ve got to take responsibility. It’s on my watch. So it absolutely bothered me. I had conversations with everyone. I’ve already addressed the Pringle one. But I had conversations about how I felt about it. We gathered information and we’re taking that through the process and handling it what I think is the right way.”
It’s worth noting again that each of these players are new free agent signings. They’re part of the group expected to take Eberflus’ no-nonsense HITS philosophy to heart. Adams followed Eberflus from the Colts and was partially expected to help the locker room adjust to Eberflus’ demanding program. But Eberflus said the arrests don’t sting anymore because of who had run-ins with the law.
“We're just disappointed, it doesn't matter who it is,” Eberflus said. “We're disappointed in the actions. I'm sure the players were disappointed that that happened too, and you just move forward and educate and go from there.”
“I think we have the right guys,” Poles said. “I think there were mistakes made, for sure. We had those conversations and there’s a process when that happens through the league, through our team, security, all that stuff. And we’ll go through that process and go from there. But as a leader of an organization, when the phone goes off and there’s an incident and we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do and we know what the standards are of being a Chicago Bear, absolutely it bothers me.”
The Bears didn’t mention any specifics on internal discipline for the three players. Clearly the message to stay out of trouble didn’t take hold over the summer. We’ll see if any updated messaging gets through to the team.