Bears’ Darnell Mooney Validates Former Teammate’s Criticism

Bears Darnell Mooney

The Chicago Bears will have wide receiver Darnell Mooney for the start of training camp.

This comes from Mooney himself, who said he was “ready to roll,” per Kaitlin Sharkey and Rick Tarsitano of WGN on July 10. Mooney, 25, had surgery to repair ligaments in his ankle from an injury suffered during Week 12 that cost him the rest of the season. Heading into the final year of his contract, this is a big year for Mooney and the Bears.

Bears’ Darnell Mooney ‘Tired of Losing’

They revamped the receiver room over the last year including adding Chase Claypool at the trade deadline in 2022 and then getting D.J. Moore via trade this summer. And Mooney is hoping the results are different in 2023.

“Get ready to win,” he said. “Tired of losing. Don’t go for any hypeness or anything like that. Just get ready to win.”
Fans will recall former Bears running back David Montgomery, now of the Detroit Lions, made it a point to mention how tired he had grown with all of the losing the Bears have done the last couple of seasons going 9-25 combined in the final season under Matt Nagy and the first under Matt Eberflus.

They were 3-14 this past season resulting in the No. 1 overall pick.

Darnell Mooney ‘Happy’ About New Faces

Mooney finished the campaign with 493 yards and two receiving touchdowns on 43 receptions but is just one year removed from the first 1000-yard season of his career. Those marks could be a little tougher to come by with all the new mouths to feed.

They added rookie speedster Tyler Scott and former Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan too.

“There are a lot more other guys out there now,” Mooney said. “I’m happy about that. Guys just willing to work. You see a lot of faces. Even with our guys coming back from last year – it’s just a different feeling. …It’s extremely important to have that chemistry. To have that family intact. It’s only going to make us better.”

He’s said similar things in the past.

Bears’ Darnell Mooney Provides Detailed Injury Update

And better they must be.

“We have to win,” he continued. “There’s no waiting and seeing how this thing grows. We have to win. It starts off Week 1 and continuing going on from there.”

Mooney credited teammate Eddie Jackson, who was rehabbing from his foot injury, for helping him through his own process. But he also offered some notable insight about some of his other teammates.

Darnell Mooney ‘Didn’t Like’ Certain Teammates

“Some guys that I probably didn’t like at first, I grew a relationship with them. I know their character,” Mooney said. “I know why they act that way.”

Mooney compared the experience to having a brother and learning to appreciate them.

“I love them for the way they are.”

But it’s hard not to hear those words and think about who it may have been with Claypool an easy target. He has not necessarily won too many people over since coming over from the Pittsburgh Steelers where he also developed a reputation of not being the most committed player.

Quarterback Justin Fields is one the more notable voices to commend Claypool’s improved approach this offseason during OTA’s before the latter suffered an injury that kept him out.

“Chase is improved tremendously just from the end of last year to now,” Fields said via the team’s Twitter feed on May 23. “That’s one thing I’m truly proud to say. Just seeing his work ethic, his attitude changed. You can just see he’s taken another step.”

Claypool, 25, finished with 140 yards on 14 grabs in seven games with the Bears drawing three starts after arriving. He also suffered an injury during the season that knocked him out for a couple of weeks right as he was seemingly building a rapport with Fields – Claypool had garnered 11 targets in the two games before he went down.

He has drawn 11 targets in the three games with the Bears before that and only drew seven total looks after returning to the lineup.