The Bears Recruiting Magnet

Desmond Trufant says he wanted the chance to play on the same defense with Khalil Mack and now he's going to do it.
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Even after what some would call down years with 8 1/2 and nine sacks, Khalil Mack seems to remain a magnet for free agents.

When talking to Chicago media for the first time, Kyle Fuller's replacement Desmond Trufant made it known what helped attract him to Chicago in free agency beyond employment. And it wasn't deep dish pizza or Italian beef.

"I mean, obviously, they love my game, but you know, they said, 'there ain't too many guys walking around like Khalil Mack.' I know you want to play with him,'" Trufant said.

Other free agents have said the same in the past. A dominant player on one side of the ball seems to pull in others when they have a chance to move between teams. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a good example of this type of attraction at work last year in free agency.

Trufant, the former Lions and Falcons cornerback, had to laugh when he said it, but didn't mind admitting the truth.

"You don't get too many opportunities to play with a guy like him," Trufant said. "He's a hall of fame-type of player. And then the respect, what he's been able to do.

"And I know he's going to continue to do what he does. That makes my life easier as a corner. You got guys up front that are getting pressure like that. I'm really excited for this opportunity. I'm going to take advantage of it, for sure."

Trufant played only six games last year due to repeated hamstring issues. When he was younger and in the league a few years he had played at a level comparable to Fuller as he made the Pro Bowl in 2015. But the injuries are taking a toll now after two straight years on injured reserve.

"You know, I'm hungry," Trufant said. "It was a down year for me. I was out, I was in and out of the lineup. I couldn't do what I wanted to do. I made some plays but it wasn't good enough, wasn't up to my standard because I wasn't in the lineup.

"First thing's first—I'm trying to make sure i’m healthy and available to do what they brought me in to do. That's No. 1. I know if I take care of that everything else will take care of itself. I'm a professional. I've been doing this a long time. I know how to be successful in this league and what that looks like and feels like. I'm just focused on being healthy, bonding with my teammates, learning the playbook, and everything else is a natural instinct for me."

The hamstring issue last year was something Trufant thought he could have avoided but tried to be a little too aggressive with recovery.

"Pretty much was just dealing with the hammy," Trufant said. "It was just a lingering injury for me. I think I came back a little too early the first time. I tweaked it and it kind of just lingered on.

"I played four or five games, played pretty solid, and then it went out on me again. It was just one of those years, bro. It's hard to explain, but I'm doing different things with my recovery. I'm just training those areas: my hips, my hamstrings, just the whole pelvis area to have more strength and more durability. I'm healthy now. I'm working and grinding, so I'm looking forward and ready to make an impact."

Trufant had one of his 14 career interceptions with the Lions last year. He initially injured the hamstring starting against the Bears in the opener at Ford Field, and it got worse from there.

Now he's prepared to handle the responsibility of replacing Fuller, who was cut in a salary cap dump.

"You know, I've been doing this a long time," Trufant said. "So that's just a part of the game. There's great players everywhere. I've got a lot of respect for him. He's done it at a high level for a long time but this is the game.

"No matter where I'm at or what I'm doing I'm trying to dominate. I'm trying to be the best I can be on the field so I'm just looking forward to bonding with my new teammates and you know learning this playbook and just getting after it, you know, and just show the team, show the city what I'm about."

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