Justin Fields, Cole Kmet gave Robert Tonyan an easy decision on the Bears homecoming

Robert Tonyan always knew he would play for the Bears one day.

The quarterback-turned-tight end and McHenry native finally realized that dream Thursday when he signed a one-year deal to play for his hometown team. There were plenty of compelling reasons for Tonyan to leave the Green Bay Packers for a Bears team he believes is pointing straight up.

Quarterback Justin Fields was chief among them.

“Big fan of the quarterback,” Tonyan told the Chicago media on Friday’s conference call via Zoom.

“I think he’s a mentally strong, young player. That’s hard to do when you come into the league when you have a lot going on, whether it’s positive or negative things being said about you in the media, just to stay calm and play your game. He’s progressed so well over the last year. We’ve got to see that as division opponents. He hangs in there, takes hits, gets up, jumps up, keeps coming back for more. That’s kind of what you want in a quarterback and a leader, someone who doesn’t give up or not retiring, playing through injuries or whatever. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

Tonyan is familiar with Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and his plan. The 28-year-old tight end knows it fits his skill set well. He’s a surefire pass catcher who can give Fields another reliable target in the red zone. Tonyan has only dropped two passes in five seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.

Last season, the Bears’ offense lacked legitimate pass-catching weapons. With Tonyan and newcomer DJ Moore on board, Fields has a few more tools in his evolving arsenal.

Tonyan will join the tight end room led by Cole Kmet. The 24-year-old got off to a slow start in the third year of his NFL career, but settled in and exploded for seven touchdowns in the last 10 games, five of which came in a three-game hitting streak.

Bringing in another quality pass-catching tight end in Tonyana to pair with Kmet should improve a Bears offense that lacked bite in the passing game last season.

“This offense runs tight ends, whether it’s blocking, passing, whatever it is,” Tonyan said. “And just a good pair. Cole’s a great tight end. He’s big, strong, and I think adding that — it can complement me and him. I’m super fired up.

“I’m just excited to get in this building and get things going and just be a part of a team that’s moving in the right direction.”

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Catching Fields’ passes, reuniting with Getsy and pairing with Kmet were all strengths for Tonyan to join the Bears.

But it’s also home—where Tonyan has always planned to pursue his NFL dreams.

“Did I think I was going to be a tight end for the Bears? No,” Tonyan said of his football journey. “But did I think I was going to play for the Bears? Yes, absolutely. In my brain I’ve been playing for the Bears my whole life.”

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