Justin Fields, Cole Kmet made Robert Tonyan’s Bears homecoming an easy decision

Robert Tonyan always knew he would one day play for the Bears.

The quarterback turned a tight end, and the McHenry native finally made that dream a reality on Thursday when he signed a one-year contract to play for his hometown team. There were many compelling reasons for Tonyan to leave the Green Bay Packers for a Bears team that he believes has the arrow pointing straight up.

Quarterback Justin Fields was foremost among them.

“Big fan of the quarterback,” Tonyan told Chicago media during a conference call Friday via Zoom.

“I think he’s a mentally strong young player. That’s hard to do when you come into the league when you have a lot, whether it’s positive or negative things being said about you in the media, just keep your cool keep and play your game.” “He progressed so well last year during the year. We need to see him be division opponents. He stays there, takes hits, gets up, pops up and keeps coming back for more. That’s what you really want in a quarterback and a leader, someone who doesn’t give up or back down, play through injuries or whatever it may be. I’m just super excited to be a part of that.”

Tonyan is familiar with Bear’s offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and his plan. The 28-year-old tight side knows it suits his skills well. He is a confident pass catcher who can give Fields another reliable target in the red zone. Tonyan has dropped just two passes in five seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.

Last season, the Bears’ offense lacked legitimate pass-catching weapons. With Tonyan and newly acquired DJ Moore on board, Fields has a few more tools in an evolving arsenal.

Tonyan will join a tight room led by Cole Kmet. 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 the last 10 games, five of them in a three-game span.

Bringing in another good pass-catching tight end in Tonyan to pair with Kmet should elevate a Bears offense that had no bite in the passing game last season.

“This offense goes through the tight ends, whether it’s blocking, passing, whatever it is,” Tonyan said. “And just a good pair. Cole is a great tight end. He’s big, strong, and I think adding that — that can complement me and him. I’m super excited.

“I’m just excited to get into this building and get things started and just be part of a team moving in the right direction.”

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Catching passes from Fields, reuniting with Getsy, and pairing up with Kmet were all selling points for Tonyan to join the Bears.

But it’s also home, where Tonyan always intended to achieve his NFL dreams.

“Did I think I’d be a tight end for the Bears? No,” Tonyan said of his football journey. “But did I think I would play for the Bears? Yes, absolutely. In my head I played for the Bears all my life.”

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