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Bears' Mitch Unrein Ready To Watch Wife Shoot For Olympic Gold

By Chris Emma--

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) -- With the summer heat beating down at Olivet Nazarene and the work so strenuous, veteran Bears defensive end Mitch Unrein never seems fazed by the challenges of training camp.

Now entering his sixth season in the NFL, Unrein currently stands in prime position to start at defensive end, earning the respect of his coach.

"He's a solid performer," Bears coach John Fox said of the 29-year-old Unrein. "He's been very dependable and accountable in our history together."

Because of this, Unrein seems to have an inside edge for the starting job. As he fights for the job, his wife is headed to Rio with the United States Olympic team.

Unrein couldn't be more proud of his wife, Corey Cogdell-Unrein, one of the most decorated trap shooters in the world. She's participating in her third Olympics next week.

"It's just really cool that I'm going to have the opportunity to hopefully watch my wife win a gold medal," Unrein said.

The night prior to Super Bowl XLV in Texas five years ago, Unrein first met Cogdell on a blind date set up by two friends.

Unrein was amazed to learn of her shooting skill and Olympic history, which started as a child in Alaska. Mitch, who grew up in Eaton, Colorado, also enjoys shooting.

"The rest is history," Unrein said.

Next Saturday brings the Bears' Fan Fest at Soldier Field, a celebration of football in Chicago amid the heat of training camp. Then, the Bears pack up and head back to Bourbonnais and their summer home. Sunday marks an off day and quite the important one for Unrein.

Cogdell-Unrein will represent the United States on Aug. 7. She won the bronze in 2008 and is looking for the gold this year. Back in Bourbonnais, Unrein and teammates will gather to watch the competition.

Bears teammates are always asking Unrein how his wife is doing in competitions. With the Olympics approaching, the sense of community helps. Unrein knows he will be incredibly nervous when his wife steps up for her Olympic moment, and the support is important for both husband and wife.

"I'm going to have more nerves, just because we're married and it's been even longer since we've known each other," Unrein said. "I know how hard she's worked for this.

"It's great to have that community with the team and the fans. My wife, she knows that as well. She knows a lot of people are pulling for her. It's up to her to go do her thing. She's shooting really well right now. I think she can bring it home."

Of course, Unrein is working through his own competition. After playing four seasons with John Fox's Broncos, he was brought to the Bears two games into the 2015 season and immediately fit.

Fox wanted Unrein to join his first season in Chicago because of his professional approach and knowledge in the head coach's ways. Unrein adjusted to Vic Fangio's defense and became a key role player.

Entering training camp, Unrein has Fangio's defense down pat and has worked his way into position for a starting spot.

"I'm not a super flashy guy by any means, but I feel like I'm gritty, I'm tough and I make plays when they're presented to me," Unrein said. "That's something that I've hung my hat on my entire career. It's been paying off for me. I just got to continue doing more of the same."

August brings some big moments for the Unreins. Mitch is working his way to a starting spot with the Bears, and Corey is striving for Olympic gold.

Back in training camp, Unrein couldn't be more proud.

"For me to be in the NFL," he said, "and for her to be at the top of her sport, it's really cool."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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