New Bears team needs new leaders

The late Bill Veeck used to call it "rent a player" when baseball was doing it back in the 1970s. Now the NFL is doing it, with more players signing one-year contracts than ever with the hope of becoming core players.

When the Bears arrive at their opening-day 53-man roster in September, no more than 23 percent of the team will be composed of players who have called Soldier Field home for at least four years.

There could be so many new faces behind the face masks. Kyle Long. Jon Bostic. Khaseem Greene. D.J. Williams. James Anderson. Tom Zbikowski. Martellus Bennett. Jermon Bushrod. Matt Slausen.

Some will be short-timers. Others should stick around awhile.

Maybe some will even become new leaders. The voids left by Idonije and others can be filled in many ways.

One thing about Long. He wasn't drafted just to put defenders on their fannies. He was drafted to lead.

He doesn't play the same position former center Olin Kreutz, but Long should have the same kind of effect on the line, the offense and the team.

In a very short period of time at Oregon, Long became more than a player. He became a presence.

At Bears rookie camp over the weekend, Long's leadership ability was as plain to see as the stubble on his face. It will be a disappointment if eventually, he and his fellow blockers are not forming the Bears' offensive identity.

Others could grow as leaders as Briggs has. Brandon Marshall. Julius Peppers. Charles Tillman. Jay Cutler.

One of the reasons Trestman is here is he understands leadership and how to get pieces to fit together. Ultimately, it will be Trestman's responsibility to take this evolving group of individuals and make it a team.

A new team, that is.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei

CHICAGO

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