Chilo Rachal started eight games at guard for the Bears last year, but in November he left the team for what were termed “personal reasons” shortly after he was demoted from the first-string offensive line. Now Rachal is speaking out and denying that he quit on his team.
“I would never quit on my teammates,” Rachal told the Chicago Tribune. “I understand the brotherhood we’ve got and the respect. You’ve got to earn respect.”
So what did happen? Rachal says he left the team only after talking with head coach Lovie Smith about his demotion, and he says it was Smith who told him to take some time off.
“I talked to Lovie like, ‘Coach, what’s going on? I really don’t agree with this,’” Rachal said. “And he was like, ‘I’m going to give you some time to think about this.’ And I was like, ‘All right, Coach.’ So I went home. It wasn’t like I just walked out. I talked to Lovie and he was like ‘I’m going to give you some time to think about this. You go ahead and get away for a minute. We have a team meeting at 3 o’clock. You come back and we go from there.’”
Rachal admits, however, that he missed that 3 o’clock meeting Smith told him to attend. So while Rachal may not have quit on his team, he didn’t exactly do everything that was asked of him, either. And Rachal says he wasn’t in much of a mood to play for then-offensive coordinator Mike Tice after Tice informed him that he and Gabe Carimi were both being benched. Rachal believed Tice should have shown more sensitivity in delivering the news.
“I came in the next day and worked out and then when I got into the offensive line meeting room, Tice didn’t pull me to the side or nothing,” Rachal recalled. “He just said, ‘Chilo and Gabe, you guys are being replaced.’ I just felt that how he went about it . . . I don’t feel like that was right. I felt like he could have at least pulled me to the side, man to man, and told me.”
Rachal is now with the Cardinals, where he’ll have to perform better in training camp than he did last year with the Bears. Or else someone will pull him to the side, man to man, and tell him he’s cut.