An underrated defensive tackle on some of the most dominant defenses in NFL history, McMichael played 13 seasons with the Bears from 1981-93. Nicknamed “Mongo” and “Ming the Merciless,” he still holds the franchise record with 191 consecutive games played and his 92.5 sacks rank second in Bears history behind only Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s 124.5.
A Go Fund Me page set up for McMichael to help defray the mounting costs of his daily care and medical needs had raised $158,226 of a $176,000 goal as of Tuesday afternoon. McMichael, his wife and their daughter hope to move into a handicap-accessible home.
Good attendance: Pace is pleased with how many Bears players have been participating in Phase 1 of the voluntary offseason program since it kicked off April 19. In Phase 1, all meetings are virtual but a limited number of players can work out in the weight room and individually on the field—but without footballs or coaches.
“We’ve had really good attendance with that,” Pace said. “I think it’s a credit to our players and their passion and our staff as we work through that. Right now, it’s voluntary and we’ve got a good amount of guys coming up here and lifting right now and taking advantage of the facilities that we have. It’s safe up here with a lot of the COVID restrictions, so that part has been good.
“In regards to when they’ll be here, right now our plan is Phase 2 will start May 17 for us. That’s when we’ll start our in-person activities and that is when we expect the guys to be here, and it will be good to see everybody in-person.”
Pace anticipates a strong turnout when Phase 2 of the voluntary program begins May 17. In Phase 2, all meetings will remain virtual but players can participate in individual drills on the field for the first time.
“As we approach that May 17 date, I expect it to be good,” Pace said. “With just the feeling I have with our guys and the excitement of this offseason and the upcoming season, I feel it. I feel it from our leadership. I feel it throughout our team. I can already tell from the guys who are coming in now and just the energy and the momentum that I feel from that group.
“I expect it to carry right into May 17 when they can be here at Halas. And I think with us having the facility that we have, and you’ve seen it, we’re lucky to have the resources that we have. And I think our players are excited to take advantage of that.”
Pace was asked whether he expects 90-100 percent participation like a normal offseason.
“That’s what our hope is,” Pace said. “We’ll see. It’s such a unique time. But we’re optimistic that a lot of the guys … We have a really close group and a really close locker room. I think they enjoy being together. I think they enjoy the competition. And there are tweaks too. With Sean Desai as the [new] defensive coordinator, I think it’s important for us to all be together and continue to grow as a team, especially with our new additions.”