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When Danny Trevathan signed with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent before the 2016 season, he came with the reputation of being a winner and a tackling machine in Denver.
A lowly sixth-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2012, Trevathan became the Broncos’ leading tackler in 2013, when they went to the Super Bowl, and in 2015, when they won it. But, in his first two years with the Bears, Trevathan didn’t get to experience anything close to the team success he enjoyed in Denver. The Bears were a combined 8-24.
And Trevathan missed 11 games over those two seasons because of injuries and a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers WR Davante Adams. But, even in 12 games last year, the inside linebacker still led the Bears with 89 tackles.
He’s already matched that number this year, and for the first time as a Bear, he has yet to miss any time because of injuries. Not coincidentally, he has his most solo tackles as a Bear, 66 after Sunday night, and is second with 87 total tackles. The 6-foot-1, 239-pound Trevathan is tied for third on the team with six tackles for loss and has tied his personal best with two sacks.
“I think to this point, he’s the most productive that he’s ever been,” Bears LB coach Glenn Pires said. “He’s been healthy, he had a great offseason, and I think it’s carrying over now.”
The only Bear with more tackles than Trevathan is fellow ILB Roquan Smith. The rookie from Georgia was the eighth overall pick and is blessed with supreme talent, but he has also benefited from Trevathan’s tutoring.
“I talk about guys that are older, they have a full computer, they have a lot of information that they’ve seen and they’ve experienced,” Pires said. “He’s sharing that with Roquan, and Roquan’s taking that all in just like a sponge.”
Though he’s only 28, Trevathan’s been a team leader since he joined the Bears. Aside from the obvious production, his emotion is contagious. After the defense’s huge effort in the 15-6 victory over the Rams Sunday night at Soldier Field, Trevathan was asked if his crew could maintain the same intensity.
“You’re asking the wrong person,” he said, chuckling. “You know what I’m going to say, ‘Yes.’ It’s a challenge, but I think our defense is up for that challenge. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking to be the best defense in the league and every game we have to show that. We believe we’re the best defense in the league.”
They made a strong case for themselves in holding the Rams to 29 points below their season average of 35 and limiting them to a season-low 214 total yards, less than half their previous average of 440. Todd Gurley came in as the NFL rushing leader but was held to 28 yards on 11 carries.
“We knew what type of player he is, but we have some dogs over here,” Trevathan said. “We know our defense is the No. 1 run defense (actually No. 2) in the league, and we just don’t like people running in our backyard, that’s all it is. We take pride in that.”