Robert Tonyan always knew he was going to play with the Bears one day.
Quarterback-turned-tight end and hometown McHenry finally made that dream come true Thursday when he signed a one-year contract to play for his hometown team. There were several attractive reasons for Tonian to leave the Green Bay Packers for a Bears team that he believed the arrow was pointing straight.
Quarterback Justin Fields was chief among them.
“A huge fan of the quarterback,” Tonian told Chicago media on a Zoom conference call Friday.
“I think he’s a mentally strong young player. It’s hard to do when you come into the league when you have a lot, both positive and negative things said about you in the media, just keep calm and play your game. He’s progressed really well over the past year. He’s We’ve seen he’s a top-tier competitor.He stays there, gets hit, gets up, shows up, keeps coming back for more. That’s what you kind of want in a quarterback and a leader, someone who doesn’t quit or back down, plays through injuries or whatever that may be I am so excited to be a part of that.”
Tonian is familiar with Bears offensive coordinator Luke Jetsey and his scheme. The 28-year-old knows he’s a good match for his skills. He’s a confident pass player who can give Fields another credible goal into the red zone. Tonian has only dropped two passes in five seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.
Last season, the Bears offense had a dearth of legitimate passing weapons. With newly acquired Tonian and DJ Moore on board, Fields has quite a few tools in his evolving arsenal.
Tonian will join a parochial room chaired by Cole Kemet. The 24-year-old got off to a slow start in Year 3 of his NFL career, but settled in and exploded for seven touchdowns in his last 10 games, five of which came in three starts.
Bringing in another high-quality tight end in Tonyan to pair with Kmet should elevate a Bears offense that lacked bite in last season’s passing game.
“This offense is running through the tight ends, whether it’s a tackle, a pass, or whatever,” Tonian said. “And just a good pair. Cole is a great tight end. He’s big and strong, and I think adding that — he can complete me and him. I’m really excited.”
“I’m just excited to get into this building and get things moving and be part of a team that’s going up in the right direction.”
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Catching passes from the Fields, reuniting with Getsy, and pairing with Kmet were all selling points for Tonian joining the Bears.
But it’s also his home – where Tonian always planned his NFL dreams to come true.
“Did you think I was going to be a tight end for the Bears? No,” Tonian said of his playing trip. “But did you think I’d be playing with bears? Yeah, sure. In my mind I’ve been playing with bears all my life.”
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