This can’t be a bad sign if you’re a Chicago Bears fan. The Bears have been grooming two undrafted offensive linemen out of Notre Dame, Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher, with the hope they may eventually have significant roles in the o-line.
Bars and Mustipher were rookies in 2019, and they saw very limited action. Mustipher played in all four preseason games (he started two), while Bars played in every preseason game, starting three. The team signed both players to the practice squad in early September, and Mustipher, who started three years at center for the Fighting Irish, did not see action during the regular season.
Bars, who started three seasons at guard while at Notre Dame, was promoted to the team’s active roster in mid-October, just after Bears’ veteran guard Kyle Long was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list. Bars never started a game during his first and only season, but he did see action towards the end of the year.
He played in the team’s final five games, contributing mostly on special teams, but he did get to see action for 12% of the team’s offensive snaps in the Bears’ Week 17 finale win against Minnesota. Bars had a standout training camp and preseason, and he made a strong impression on several members of the media who watched him closely early on.
Both Bars and Mustipher have also started working out with former Bears’ All-Pro center Olin Kreutz this off-season, which is a good sign for this Bears team moving forward. Here’s why.
Bars, Mustipher Show Camaraderie and Determination
Bars and Mustipher have joined former Bears Kreutz and fullback Jason McKie for martial arts workouts recently. Kreutz was quick to credit Mark Vives of New Breed Academy and Robert Hemmerich, who trains at Roots Training Center, as the group’s trainers on social media after Vives initially shared a post-workout pic on Instagram.
Things will be much different for Bars and Mustipher with the Bears in 2020. Chicago fired offensive line coach Harry Hiestand at the end of the season, hiring veteran Juan Castillo to take over the position. Kyle Long has also taken a break from football, and he will not be with the Bears for the first time in seven seasons. Veteran guard Ted Larsen’s contract is also up, and Bars could be a potential replacement on the line.
Working out with — and potentially picking the brain — of veterans like Kreutz and McKie could only help both of these young men. Kreutz played for 14 seasons, 13 of which were with the Bears. In that time, he was a six-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 2006. McKie didn’t see the field as much as Kreutz, but he spent seven seasons in a Bears uniform, and he surely has a great deal of wisdom to depart to both linemen.
Seeing Bars and Mustipher take this kind of initiative — getting in better physical shape by training with knowledgeable veterans — has to make Bears fans feel good about both of these young prospects moving forward.