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Emma: Danny Trevathan Has New Swagger Spreading Through Bears Defense

By Chris Emma--

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) -- When you hear the words of Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, it's hard not to feel some inspiration.

Signed by Chicago this March as a prized free agent, Trevathan instantly took charge of the Bears' collective attitude. The culture at Halas Hall certainly feels different.

"As long as we keep going in the direction, I have no problems thinking that we're going to be one of the best out there," Trevathan said.

Fresh off a Super Bowl championship with the Denver Broncos, Trevathan came to Chicago with that winning demeanor. Over and over during his introductory press conference, he spoke of his hatred of losing -- more than just words for a player who has made the playoffs in each of his first four NFL seasons.

Trevathan, 26, became that rare Pro Bowl player to hit the open market in his prime, a byproduct of the Broncos' cap crunch coming off the championship. They had to make Von Miller and others priorities, and Trevathan was let free.

Adding Trevathan -- along with inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks are more -- meant the Bears were doing more than just upgrading their talent defensively. They also began building a new swagger.

OTAs just began this week, and Hicks didn't hide the Bears' goal defensively.

"To crush everybody," Hicks replied.

Even Bears coach John Fox raised an eyebrow when he realized the new demeanor of his Bears team. He feels there's something special brewing at Halas Hall. Fox oversaw a culture revival last season, though the Bears still finished 6-10.

Halas Hall has a different feel when a Super Bowl champion like Trevathan comes in and begins talking about championship aspirations.

"The attitude just has to spread like wildfire," Trevathan said. "These guys got to be hungry, and they are. I feel like we got a great group of guys. We got to just keep pushing it and putting together great days.

"I feel like we're going in the right direction. We're picking it up here. It's a new team. We got the right attitude."

Trevathan is a different kind of guy, something the Bears picked up on quickly. He's extremely driven and works with that chip on his shoulder. After all, he was a sixth-round pick out of Kentucky and a longshot to become a starter with the Broncos, but Fox gave him a shot on the defense. Trevathan would become the quarterback of the Broncos' defense, recording 109 tackles in 15 games last season.

As the Bears build their defense to the liking of coordinator Vic Fangio, the addition of Trevathan brings instant credibility. The Bears defense quickly noticed the new presence of Trevathan.

"He's a stud," Hicks said. "He's so smart, really enthusiastic, and he pushes everybody."

Bears practices will be physical when the first-team defense is on the field. Even offensive lineman Kyle Long marveled at the presence of Hicks up front, admitting that each day would be a test.

Unheralded out of Kentucky, Trevathan quickly learned with Fox's Broncos that success was earned through practice. Trevathan and those Broncos reached the Super Bowl following the 2013 season but were pounced by the Seahawks.

Now, Trevathan has achieved Super Bowl glory, and that hunger doesn't go away.

"To win it, it's a different feeling," Trevathan said. "You want that feeling every year. But it's hard work."

Practice is where it all begins for the Bears. With a crowded depth chart, competition will be the key through training camp. Their work must go beyond individual priorities, too.

A new leader for the Bears, Trevathan is making sure his team is striving for the ultimate prize.

"When we're out here, we're all working for one common goal," Trevathan said. "That's to be great, and to win a championship."

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

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