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Emma: Danny Trevathan Poised To Transform Bears Defense

By Chris Emma--

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) -- Perhaps there's no position so synonymous with a football franchise like linebacker for the Bears.

Naturally, the names of Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher come to mind, with highlights of their greatness leading dominating defenses. It's a matter of pride in Chicago.

The Bears defense has been anything but dominating the last several seasons. In fact, it was average in 2015, a dramatic step forward under Vic Fangio's guidance. Chicago needed linebacker Danny Trevathan, the new front man for its rebuilding defensive identity.

"I hate losing," Trevathan said. "I've been on a losing team and a winning team. Guess which I like more?"

Having just hoisted the Lombardi Trophy last month as a member of the champion Broncos, Trevathan knows what it's like to win. He's experienced Super Bowl glory. Now, he comes to a Bears franchise that's desperate to get back to winning.

Trevathan's the ideal fit for the Bears in this crucial offseason -- a player in his prime who fills a position of great need. He's an instant upgrade who immediately makes the defense stronger. Trevathan's a tackling machine who's "nasty" in the run game and a capable defender in pass coverage. His impact will be felt all over Halas Hall.

Even at the age of 25, Trevathan will be a leader for this Bears defense. He'll be the man synced to Fangio's instructions, guiding the unit on and off the field.

Trevathan will set the tone for this Bears defense.

"I believe we can accomplish whatever we put our minds to," Trevathan said. "We just got to go out there and practice, hit this weight room, hit this meeting room really hard. The offseason is when we get it done. This is where we lay the ground laws.

"That attitude is going to spread like wildfire. It's going to be contagious."

The Falcons and Broncos provided the strongest competition for Trevathan's services during Day 1 of the free agency period on Wednesday, but the Bears were able to close their deal. His $12 million in guaranteed money is considered a steal for a player with such high upside. Bears general manager Ryan Pace picked Trevathan because he feels this is the impact player to transform his defense.

For Trevathan, one of the most important reasons for his move to Chicago was reuniting with coach John Fox, a man who gave the scrutinized 2012 sixth-round pick a chance.

"I owed him, not just by coming here, but giving him everything when I'm playing," Trevathan said. "That guy was one of the guys who stuck with me. It wasn't pretty being drafted in the sixth round."

Trevathan led the Broncos and their dominating defense with 109 tackles, while adding a pair of picks and showing his skills in all aspects of the Denver defensive identity. He was a key piece to a unit that had star power across the board.

Coming to Chicago, Trevathan's now the front man for the Bears' growth. He's the big-money free agent tasked with bringing success to a franchise starved for it.

Day 1 of Trevathan at Halas Hall saw a new swagger emerge. Alongside tackle Bobby Massie, who came from the Cardinals and their run to the NFC title game, there was talk of winning football games.

Trevathan believes he can restore Chicago's defensive identity, and the new Bears linebacker will be relentless all the way.

"I pack a punch," Trevathan. "I don't care how big you are, don't care how strong you are. It's just me and you. I hate losing."

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

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