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'I'm eager to see what he can do'

Through four years of highs and lows in Chicago, from being selected second overall to being benched, through changes in coaches, coordinators and play-callers, and seasons that ended in the playoffs and in last place, Mitch Trubisky never wavered.

"He's not one to make excuses," former Steelers and Bears quarterback Jim Miller insisted. "He will point the thumb at himself when he knows he's gotta get better, and his teammates respect that."

Miller, a postgame analyst on Fox 32 in Chicago and a co-host on Sirius/XM's NFL Channel, has had a front row seat while witnessing Trubisky's accountability.

It's a characteristic that's taken Trubisky a long way, Miller maintains.

"Two things carry a lot of respect in the locker room, your toughness and your ability to admit that you're not an excuse-maker and you're going to go out there and get the job done," Miller emphasized. "None of his teammates ever spoke poorly about Mitch Trubisky wherever he's been."

Offensive lineman James Daniels, who got to Chicago in 2018, a year after Trubisky, spoke glowingly about his former QB upon joining the Steelers.

"He cares about his teammates, but he cares about his teammates more than football," Daniels maintained. "He cares about them as a person, always talks to them and asks how they're doing, how their family's doing, things like that.

"Mitch would text me all the time when we were playing together. It's tough coming in as a rookie, new city, things like that. Mitch was always texting me, checking in on me. I really appreciate what he's done for me."

Trubisky posted a 29-21 record as a starter in his Bears tenure.

He's reached the playoffs twice but he hasn't won a playoff game.

He's never thrown an interception in the postseason, either. Trubisky went a combined 45-for-72 (62.5 percent) for 502 yards and two scores in a 16-15 loss to Philadelphia in 2018 and a 21-9 loss to New Orleans in 2020.

The Bears were poised to beat the Eagles but kicker Cody Parkey's 43-yard field goal attempt with 10 seconds remaining was blocked.

Oh, what might have been.

Being miscast in Chicago was also a factor in Trubisky eventually leaving the Bears, Miller suspects.

Trubisky spent last season as the backup in Buffalo.

"He was forcing himself to throw from the pocket," Miller contended. "The Bears were trying to make him a pocket passer, and at times he just needs to be who he is.

"He can do the RPO stuff. He's got some jets, he can scoot, he's a good athlete and he's tough. At times his toughness gets the best of him. He's gotta learn to get down, slide, get out of bounds, those type of things.

"In terms of his pocket passing awareness, it was improving in Chicago but it can get better. His biggest struggle is the long ball. I think his long ball's a little flat. He can correct that where he just puts a little more arc on it where it becomes a more catchable ball for the receivers. But he's young, he's talented, he's won and I can't stress enough he's very respected in the locker room."

Linebacker Myles Jack remembered defending against Trubisky upon joining the Steelers.

Trubisky's Bears beat Jack's Jaguars, 41-17, on Dec. 27, 2020 in Jacksonville.

Trubisky contributed 24 completions on 35 attempts, for 265 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

"He was a younger guy when we played him but he definitely made a lot of plays against us," Jack recalled. "He's definitely a lot more savvy than I think people understand. And he's very on the point with what he does as a quarterback as far as getting the ball on the money.

"I feel like he has a lot to prove and he's very excited to get out here. I'm eager to see what he can do."

Trubisky signed on with the Steelers, in part, because he's eager to get on the field again.

If it works out that way, Miller is of the opinion the year Trubisky spent on the sidelines in Buffalo will prove beneficial.

"He needed a breath of fresh air," Miller said. "He was kind of being vilified as the problem for the Bears and why they weren't winning but it was more than that.

"So for him, he got to decompress a little bit. And he got to learn a different perspective on offense. And he got to learn from a quarterback who also has gone through growing pains, and that's Josh Allen.

"He's had a year to just sit behind Josh Allen so he should be 100-percent healthy and I would think mentally he's healthy, too. This guy's a fierce competitor and I think that's one of his greatest assets. He has all the athleticism that he needs, he can do everything that's required, he's won games and he's led a team to the playoffs twice.

"He's experienced quite a bit in is young career, a lot of it just wasn't all good things."

It wasn't all just exhaling and recharging in Buffalo, either.

Trubisky threw eight regular-season passes for the Bills, but as the scout team QB he practiced with a purpose.

"Mitch is, first of all, a great athlete," former Bills cornerback Levi Wallace observed after reuniting with Trubisky in Pittsburgh. "And No. 2, he took scout team seriously each and every week. It was hard to get interceptions on him in practice. He's gonna throw it to the right person but he's gonna make it fit in.

"He pays attention to detail so well. Just to have a guy like that, he got signed here right before I did, I was pretty excited to see him come up here."

Added Daniels: "Mitch is a great guy. I loved him in Chicago. It didn't work out there but Mitch has a great opportunity here to do something special.

"I'm just excited to be able to play with him again."