Bears coach Matt Nagy was very happy to have receiver Allen Robinson II back on the practice field Tuesday for the first time this offseason.
"It was really good," Nagy said as the Bears kicked off their mandatory three-day, full-squad minicamp at Halas Hall. "Anytime you have that quality of player that shows back up and gets out here in the huddle and just that experience that he brings, he just has such a quiet calm and confidence to him that you could see the guys out there throwing him the football and the things he's doing, he just slides right on in."
Nagy wasn't concerned that Robinson would be out of shape when he arrived at Halas Hall this week.
"The one sneaky thing about A-Rob that I think is pretty cool is that No. 1, even if he's not here, you know he's working his tail off," Nagy said. "But No. 2, he's always in great shape, and we noticed that today."
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Robinson has excelled since signing with the Bears in 2018, having caught 255 passes for 3,151 yards and 17 touchdowns in 45 games over three seasons. The 6-2, 220-pounder had 55 receptions for 754 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 and followed with 98 catches for 1,147 yards and seven TDs in 2019. Last season he hauled in a career-high 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns.
The 102 receptions were the sixth most in the NFL and tied for the second most in Bears history. Robinson was one of only five players in the league with at least 102 catches, 1,250 yards and six TDs, joining the Bills' Stefon Diggs, the Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins, the Packers' Davante Adams and the Chiefs' Travis Kelce.
The Bears placed a franchise tag on Robinson in March, guaranteeing him 120 percent of his previous year's salary. Players who receive a franchise tag can sign a long-term extension with their teams through July 15.
Goldman not attending minicamp
One player who was not present Tuesday at Halas Hall was veteran nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about COVID-19.
"As everybody knows, it's a mandatory minicamp and he's not here," Nagy said. "We did have a discussion with him yesterday-obviously I'm going to keep that between us-but we do expect him to be at training camp rocking and rolling there at training camp."
Nagy understands why some may be skeptical that will happen, but the Bears coach reiterated that he expects Goldman to report to training camp.
"No, I don't think it's in doubt," Nagy said. "I really feel confident that he's going to be here. Obviously, when somebody's not in minicamp, that's probably what a lot of people will think and start wondering what the deal is, and that's natural and okay and normal. But we fully expect him to be there."
Nagy was asked whether Goldman's absence is related to his COVID-19 concerns.
"I can't say that I know that," Nagy said. "We had a discussion as far as just from me talking to Ryan [Pace] and just knowing everything that's going on and just talking to his coaches. Didn't get into a whole lot of details, and that's OK ... Do we wish he was here? Absolutely, because we think he's a hell of a player and he has been out a whole year. [But] I can't specifically tell you that I know that for sure [it's due to COVID]."
Free-agent acquisition Marquise Goodwin was the star of Tuesday's non-contact practice as the speedy receiver caught a pair of long passes from veteran quarterback Andy Dalton.
"I thought it was definitely an element that we have when you see some of the guys out there rolling with the speed," Nagy said. "That's that touchdown-to-touchdown mentality that we talk about, so it's nice to see that. There's a little bit of a disadvantage to the defense because [we practice] with no pads on out there. But we're trying to be able to take the top off [the defense] when we can."
Goodwin signed with the Bears in April after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns as a member of the Eagles. He has appeared in 75 NFL games with 40 starts over seven seasons with the Bills (2013-16) and 49ers (2017-19), catching 140 passes for 2,323 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Goodwin represented the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games as a long jumper, an event in which he won two national college championships when he attended Texas. In February, he competed in the long jump for the first time since 2016, winning the event at the Florida International Pro Addition with a jump of 26 feet, 7¾ inches. His jump was an Olympic-qualifying mark and the fourth longest in the world this year.