Acquaintances will be renewed Sunday when the 3-1 Chicago Bears meet the undefeated (4-0) New Orleans Saints Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
Bears offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod will line up against his former Saints teammates after spending his first five seasons in New Orleans. Bushrod, a fourth-round draft choice of the Saints in 2007, says he’s looking forward to the matchup. ” I definitely have a lot of friends over there, but I’m a Bear now. I’m just very blessed to have the opportunity that I have to play here. I cherished my time in New Orleans and I am very appreciative of their organization and the opportunity they gave me to grow and all that stuff. It’s a good thing. It’s a good position to be in.”
The Bears coaching staff will also see old friends. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer served as the Saints interim head coach for the first six games of the 2012 season and had been part of the New Orleans staff since 2008, earning accolades for his work and development with the offensive line.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman and Saints head man Sean Payton have a football association that dates back to their offensive coordinator days in the legaue. Trestman remains indebted to Payton for bringing him in during the 2007 training camp after Trestman had been let go as part of Chuck Amato’s fired North Carolina State staff. “Sean and Mickey (Loomis) were kind enough to, when I was out of work, to give me an opportunity to spend some time with them and that’s something I’ve always been really appreciative of: the fact that they allowed me to be around the team and spend some time there in 2007. That’s always meant a lot to me.”
Trestman reflected on the experience in New Orleans this week, even though his mind is focused on scheming ways to counter the Saints dynamic offense. “I had just been let go at N.C. State, I wasn’t doing anything, I was sitting the year out, I had two years left on a contract. He invited me down and really showed professional respect. … It was a great learning time for me and it was also a good time to watch Sean be a head coach and see how he worked on a daily basis and see how he handled the success and the adversity.”
Like most things in life, football is a small world where people’s paths cross one another in some shape or form. Following the final gun Sunday, win or lose, expect to see some friendships rekindled.