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Bears Have Top Targets Whoever Plays QB

Keenan Allen embraces the Chicago cold, QB uncertainty and playing in a new city for the first time after 11 seasons in the league.

Keenan Allen calls himself a friendly guy.

"On and off the field," Allen said.

He's especially quarterback-friendly and that's good when you can't even be sure at the moment who your quarterback will be.

After being traded to the Bears by the L.A. Chargers, Allen expects to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Shane Waldron's new Chicago offense, even if being traded wasn't something he particularly wanted and this wasn't on his original list of places to go.

"Obviously on the football field, I know the game," Allen said Saturday at his first Bears press conference. "I know the ins and outs. I know the zones, I know how to beat man. I know pretty much how to play the game.

"I just think I'm friendly for the quarterback because I'll be in the right spots. I know how to communicate with them and my body language is solid too."

Allen sees providing the complement in the Bears receiver corps to DJ Moore as a good fit even though he initially told the Chargers he preferred to stay put.

"They've got great talent," he said. "I know DJ is a hell of an athlete. I'm definitely excited about the opportunity.

"I obviously wanted to finish my career there (in L.A.) but things happen. You've got to keep moving."

Neither the cold weather in Chicago nor the uncertainty at quarterback bother the easy-going veteran of 11 NFL seasons. He is from North Carolina and played in college and the NFL entirely in warm weather.

"It is what it is," Allen said. "It's one of those things you can’t control so you just kind of go with the flow and just go out there and try to remain yourself.”

As for the current Bears quarterback situation, he says he's been through things like this in the past. One was when Philip Rivers left the Chargers for the Colts, before Justin Herbert, when Tyrod Taylor was expected to start.

"Justin wasn't for certain when he first got there," Allen said. "Obviously, we had the battle with him and Tyrod after Philip left and Tyrod was the guy going into the season, and then Herbo had to step up and be as great as he is."

There's nothing Allen can do about playing in the cold now but apparently this wasn't an issue anyway. 

Allen said Houston and the New York Jets were interested in trading for him. He'd have had to contend with the elements in New York.

"It is what it is," he said. "It's one of those things you can't control so you just kind of go with the flow and just go out there and try to remain yourself."

Whether it's USC quarterback Caleb Williams or Fields, Allen has seen the group of offensive players GM Ryan Poles has assembled for Shane Waldron's offense and is impressed. 

He noted the receiving ability of D'Andre Swift out of the backfield, and played with new tight end Gerald Everett last year with the Chargers. Combining with Moore, he said, will give defenses headaches.

"Any time you got two guys that can make plays and beat man coverage, it's going to be tough," Allen said. "That's any time. Obviously, he's a guy that's made plays in this league for a long time. Myself as well. So, both of us together, it's going to be pretty good.

"We can be really special. Like you said, we got weapons. You got guys who can beat man all over the field. So double-teaming one guy is going to be costly for the defense. I think we can use that as our advantage. Having a running back that can come out of the backfield and make plays and beat one-on-ones, that's kind of big."

That may be, but now the Bears have two productive, veteran wide receivers and it was former veteran Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad who once said Chicago is where "receivers go to die."

Allen laughed about this.

"I don't know anything about that," he said.

He still has plenty of life left in him for football at age 31, but is in the final year of his contract. 

"Nothing changes but the jersey, you know, for me and that last name is still going to be on the back that's the same and you know that's what I'm carrying," Allen said.

At the moment, there's no thought of retirement after 2024 but he also says he has no idea about a contract extension.

"I actually kind of go year by year, stay in the moment," Allen said. "And you know, when my body says no more, then that's when we'll have that conversation."

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