Mitch Trubisky's Pro Bowl excitement doesn't change the 'kind of heartbreaking' playoff loss just 18 days ago

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was having lunch with running back Benny Cunningham on Friday in Nashville, Tenn., during a weekend away with friends when he fielded the call from his coach.

Matt Nagy asked Trubisky what he was doing the following week. When Trubisky said he had no plans, Nagy offered the invitation to spend the week at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.

“I legit told him to stop 100 times,” Trubisky said Wednesday from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. “I’m like: ‘You’re messing with me. You’re messing with me.’ And he’s like: ‘No, I’m serious.’ I’m like: ‘I’m there. I can’t wait.’ ”

The excitement Trubisky feels for his first Pro Bowl appearance this week doesn’t change the fact the Bears’ first-round playoff loss to the Eagles just 18 days ago is still an open wound.

He hasn’t yet brought himself to assess his second season after it ended prematurely. He glanced at scores and highlights from playoff games the last two weekends but hasn’t been able to mentally stand watching a full game. He called the ending to a season in which the Bears went 12-4 and won the NFC North “kind of heartbreaking.”

But no matter how much Trubisky wishes he and the Bears were headed to Atlanta for the Super Bowl instead, he is set on savoring the consolation prize — a place among a cast of NFL all-stars who also won’t be playing in the final game of the season.

Trubisky, an alternate who replaced Rams quarterback Jared Goff, is one of an NFC-high seven Bears players in Orlando this week.

Defensive end Akiem Hicks, safety Eddie Jackson, cornerback Kyle Fuller and return specialist Tarik Cohen were original selections. Trubisky said he “started going nuts” when he found out offensive linemen Charles Leno and Cody Whitehair would attend as alternates. An eighth Bear, Khalil Mack, opted out of his invitation because of a knee sprain.

“It’s tough being out (of the postseason),” Trubisky said. “I did not expect it to come to an end, and how much fun we were having, you never want that to end.

“You wish you could still be playing, but you have to stay positive and pick the next best thing, and that’s coming to the Pro Bowl and going to the Super Bowl (as a guest) next week.”

Trubisky was in relaxed offseason mode as he practiced with the NFC squad Wednesday morning. He switched off reps with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during a one-hour practice, throwing to NFC North rivals Davante Adams of the Packers and Adam Thielen of the Vikings as well as Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper and Cohen.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott also is on the NFC team but didn’t practice Wednesday. The AFC quarterbacks are the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, the ColtsAndrew Luck and the Texans’ Deshaun Watson.

Afterward, wearing sunglasses, Trubisky lingered on the practice field to sign autographs and answer questions ranging from the grooming of his beard to his return to Twitter after going “Zero Dark 10” on social media during the season.

The facial hair, which he didn’t trim the entire season because of a pact with other Bears quarterbacks and coaches, came off a few days after the loss to the Eagles.

“I could not believe how girthy it actually got,” Trubisky said. “I got a haircut and I shaved the beard all in one day. There was a bunch that came off. It feels good.”

He resurrected his Twitter and Instagram accounts Monday, thanking family, friends, teammates and fans for their support after he was announced as a Pro Bowl replacement. After he competed Wednesday in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown — an event that will air on ESPN at 8 p.m. Thursday — he posted an Instagram photo with Brian Urlacher and Hicks.

“People actually were excited,” Trubisky said. “They were like: ‘He’s back! He’s posting!’ So I might post a little more moving forward, but it’s good to be back on social media. I got a positive welcome. Usually social media has been negative for me.”

Being back on social media, Trubisky was reminded this week of the draft grades some gave Bears general manager Ryan Pace for his 2017 class that now includes three Pro Bowlers: Trubisky, Cohen and Jackson.

Their place among the NFL’s best this week is something Trubisky is proud of.

“People were bashing us,” Trubisky said. “ ‘Who are these guys? Where are they from? Why did we bring them to Chicago?’ And that’s why. We know what type of guys we are, how hard we work and the type of talent we have. It’s awesome to see.

“It says a lot about the type of people and players Ryan Pace has brought in. It talks about our caliber of talent. People will always underestimate you and give you grades, but we’re here, so nothing they can say now really. We have to keep getting better and enjoy it.”

Trubisky said he didn’t have offseason plans beyond the next two weeks. He’ll soak up information during practices and the game from Wilson and the NFC coaches from the Cowboys and then make some guest appearances at the Super Bowl.

At some point he’ll look back on the positives and negatives of his first year running Nagy’s offense.

But Wednesday wasn’t the time.

“I haven’t had time to assess the season, one, just because of the way it ended and how tough it was to see it come to an end like that, especially with all of the momentum we had going,” Trubisky said. “So we’ll get back to work in due time, but I’m just relaxing and enjoying the time off we have right now.”

ckane@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribKane

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