Allen Robinson insists contract issue won’t be a distraction

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson said the lack of a contract extension will not impact his focus or approach this season. “It’s my job,” he said. “to play well on Sundays and help my offense and help my team get better every week and win games.” | Paul Sancya/AP Photos

Bears coach Matt Nagy confident he and his star receiver are on the same page after talking it over. “I think that our players all realize the history that we have here in regards to taking care of guys.”

Front-and-center as usual during a difficult time, Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson tacitly apologized to his teammates for subjecting them to the collateral damage of his now-public contract issue.

“It’s unfortunate,” Robinson told reporters on a Zoom teleconference Wednesday. “Hopefully you guys don’t ask them many questions about this, because this is not their concern. I can’t say enough about my teammates I go to battle with every day. I’ve got a ton of respect for every single, last person in that locker room.”

Robinson’s concern for his teammates was one of several examples of just how conflicted he was about expressing his dissatisfaction with negotiations on a contract extension with the Bears.

The 27-year-old Robinson is a team player who doesn’t want to make waves. Yet he couldn’t help himself from passive-aggressively sending a message to Bears management by erasing references to the Bears in his Instagram and Twitter accounts, and having his representatives inquire about a trade if a deal cannot get done.

And you could tell how painful that was for him. Asked two or three times what his motivation was for taking that social media tack, Robinson never did say. Asked about a trade demand, he would not get into it. Whether it’s anger, frustration or even just disappointment he’s feeling, Robinson did not want to fan the flames of his dissatisfaction. He did acknowledge that “emotion” played a role in the social-media message.

“I mean, I’m a passionate person,” Robinson said. “I know I may not show it on the sidelines, but the things that I believe in, I really do believe in. That’s just where that came from.”

As for the issue itself — negotiations for Robinson’s extension — this seems more like an awkward part of a soulful dance that will end with an embrace. The Bears love Allen Robinson. Allen Robinson loves the Bears. And it just makes too much sense to threaten the culture in the Bears locker room — and rob Matt Nagy of a vital part of his offense — with a caustic break-up.

“My heart and spirit has never wavered as far as the City of Chicago or playing for this organization,” Robinson said. “You dive into the business of the game and there are different variables that go into that. But how I feel about my teammates; how I feel about this team; how I feel about this city … has never wavered.”

Stranger things have happened, though — especially at Halas Hall. Robinson would not address the issue of a personal deadline as he continues to risk injury while playing. And he did hesitate a bit when asked if he expects to finish the season with the Bears.

“Uh … yeah, I would say so,” Robinson said. “[Despite] everything that was said or whatever the case may be, I’ve talked to Ryan [GM Ryan Pace]. I’ve talked to coach Nagy. As far as everything else, we’re in the clear with that.

“It’s about playing with these guys, playing for coach Nagy. That never really has shifted. It’s my job to go out there and play well on Sundays and help my offense and help my team get better every week and win games.”

Nagy said after talking to Robinson about the contract issue that he had “zero concern” that Robinson feels unappreciated by the Bears, and preached patience with the process.

“I had a great conversation with Allen. He’s a leader. He’s a very important part of our team. [The negotiations], that’s not my world. But I think our players all realize the history that we have here in regards to taking care of guys.

“So hopefully, I think he definitely feels good and he’s confident that we want him to be here and that he wants to be here. That’s really the ultimate goal in all of this.”

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