It's rather obvious Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan doesn't like questions about aging or getting toward the end of his playing days.
He stepped around such questions so far this offseason and in training camp. On Tuesday after the Bears' Soldier Field workout, Trevathan produced a good old "next question," straight out of the Mike Ditka handbook, when asked an age-related question.
It's obvious if Trevathan is in his last Bears year or near the end, he's going out fighting—quite literally.
Trevathan decided to get himself in better shape than last offseason, when COVID-19 first affected the NFL and a time when he struggled early before coming on strong.
So Trevathan has turned this year to a different way to train and be ready.
"Remember, you couldn't go anywhere (last year), so you had to create your own stuff on how you're gonna train and where you're gonna train," coach Matt Nagy said. "They all had different scenarios. You've got family members. Football was probably secondary to a lot of people last year. But he fought right back and got back into where he needed to be.
"This year he showed up, and I know he's been doing some boxing. He got into major shape. I walked by just now coming over here and the dude is ripped and he's ready to go."
Nagy also brought up the 10th-year linebacker's age, but in a good way.
"He's older, he's an older guy, which is fine, but we gotta make sure we're smart with those guys and with their (practice) reps so we can have them for the entire season," Nagy said.
Trevathan averaged just 6.7 tackles a game over his first seven games last year and then upped it to 8.0 over the final nine. Pro Football Focus gave him a disgustingly low mark for the year of 39.9, which was 76th out of 83 linebackers they graded. Obviously, it was a career low and he hadn't been below 61.7 before last year.
Whether training like a boxer turns it around for Trevathan no one can be sure. He definitely looks strong and sleek.
"Every game is a title fight," Trevathan said. "I just wanted to incorporate some stuff that I heard around the league that was real good and guys that recently played the position, (said) that it was good cardio and it works everything.
"So I tried to get that into my workout and it worked really well for me. So I'm expecting to continue that throughout the season."
During scrimmage at Tuesday's first padded practice, Trevathan looked rather spry. Never considered a strong pass coverage linebacker, he got back deep in the zone on one play and batted down a ball intended for wide receiver Chris Lacy.
"Providing core strength, balance, being able to strike, and get off and overall fight the fatigue, that's something you get through boxing," Trevathan said. "You have to keep going for round for round for round."
Trevathan was once the unchallenged leader of the defense at linebacker and now Roquan Smith has risen to take the mantel.
"It's been a blessing, man," Trevathan said. "When I came into the league, I wanted to learn from other people, and I tried to take everything I learned from them, and tried to pass it on, and that's what they told me to do. Just to see him grow into that person, I'm not going to say I had anything to do with it. Ro's always going to be Ro–but if I can help him along the way and try to make him the best player, I can be within myself.
"Just to see him do that, it makes me feel great as a person, as his brother."
Smith didn't get much league-wide recognition but his statistics were better in almost every category than top young linebackers chosen ahead of him for the Pro Bowl.
I define it as he was probably one of the best linebackers to ever play last year," Trevathan said. "I know he don't get a lot of credit. He don't really buy into all of that.
"I define it as he was probably one of the best linebackers to ever play last year," Trevathan said. "I know he don't get a lot of credit. He don't really buy into all of that.
"But I'm going to say it for him. I know this year he's looking forward to taking all of that, and I'm looking forward to rocking with him and being the best linebackers out there."
The energy Trevathan gets from talking about Smith seems similar to what he gets when he talks about how he had been a sixth-round draft pick who still thrived.
"I was (Pick No.) 188," he said. "I carry that with me right now, and it's still pushing me.
"I'm not finished yet, and it feels great, where I'm at right now."
Knowing he's not finished yet is another way of saying he's not too old at 31.