This year's camp t-shirt has two ferocious grizzly bears biting and clawing giant footballs above and below the words: Monsters of the Midway.
It's more than just something to wear as players shuffle around Olivet Nazarene University in their flip-flops between practices. It reflects coach Lovie Smith's desire to return the Bears to their rough-and-tumble roots.
Bears players seem to be embracing it.
"We just have to take it back to the old school," cornerback Charles Tillman said. "You could learn a lot from your past and back in the day when there were the Monsters of the Midway they were a force to be reckoned with and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to bring that back."
A veteran player is often responsible for putting a slogan on a t-shirt and distributing them to teammates, as was the case when players donned "Unfinished business" shirts after their Super Bowl loss to the Colts. In this case, however, coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli were responsible for players finding the shirts on their beds when they checked into their dorm rooms.
"We're going to talk a lot about the Monsters of the Midway, getting back to that brand of football," Smith said Thursday. "Of course we want to score. But we need to be a tough, physical group."
Not every Bears player is well versed enough in team history to know what exactly the phrase refers to. Others, like Hunter Hillenmeyer, know exactly what Smith is trying to convey.
"That's been part of Chicago lore forever," the veteran linebacker said. "Even when you look at the '85 Bears and when we made our Super Bowl run a lot of the same themes held true in terms of the kind of team. As we've gotten away from that, our degree of success has dropped a little bit. I like that we're emphasizing getting back to where we need to be. At least that means we've been there before."
Of course, current Bears players may want to refrain from closelining running backs and clubbing offensive linemen in the head.
"Coach Smith showed a couple plays here and there and they were brutal," Tillman said. "Now, I'm sure the style of football they played is kind of illegal these days with the forearms but we'll get as close as we can without penalties."