Mike Glennon threw a ball in public for the first time as Bears quarterback Friday.
It was a little high. But Glennon’s ceremonial first pitch before the Cubs-Pirates game at Wrigley Field—snagged by relief pitcher Justin Grimm—was otherwise a thing of beauty.
“I know there’s so much tradition and I’m honored to do this,” Glennon said before taking the mound. “I couldn’t be more excited. I threw a little last week just to make sure I was ready.”
Glennon has already been throwing a football. A few weeks ago, he joined some of his new Bears teammates—including receivers Cameron Meredith and Markus Wheaton—for four straight days of private workouts at Deerfield High School. The group also went to a Bulls game together.
“It wasn’t the greatest weather, but it was good to get work in,” Glennon said. “It was a good time to meet everybody and start developing some chemistry on and off the field.
“It’s just a familiarity. The introductions are over with. I know them all. I know them a little personally, and just a little bit of chemistry. It’s not a whole lot, but at least we got familiar with each other a bit on the field as well.”
Glennon is eager to continue building that cohesiveness when the Bears kick off their offseason program Tuesday at Halas Hall. Although players are not permitted to work with coaches on the field for the first two weeks of the program, Glennon will receive his playbook and be allowed to meet with coaches for the first time.
“I’m really looking forward to getting started next week, getting with the coaches, diving into the playbook and meeting all the guys,” said Glennon, who also sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch Friday at Wrigley Field.
Glennon signed with the Bears March 10. The 27-year-old appeared in 21 games with 18 starts the past four seasons with the Buccaneers, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 4,100 yards with 30 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and an 84.6 passer rating.
“It’s been a month,” he said. “It feels like it’s taken a while to finally get started. So I’m just looking forwrad to really being part of the team and get to do some football stuff. It’ll be great.”
Glennon was selected by Tampa Bay in the third round of the 2013 draft out of North Carolina State. He started the final 13 games of his rookie season, connecting on 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,608 yards with 19 TDs, nine interceptions and an 83.9 rating.
When Lovie Smith became Tampa Bay’s head coach in 2014, he installed newly-signed free agent Josh McCown as the starter, relegating Glennon to backup duty. After McCown was sidelined with a thumb injury, Glennon played in six games with five starts, passing for 1,417 yards with 10 TDs, six interceptions and an 83.3 rating.
Glennon remained in the No. 2 role the past two seasons after the Buccaneers chose quarterback Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. The 6-7, 225-pounder did not play at all in 2015 and threw just 11 passes, all in one game, last season.
Since joining the Bears, Glennon has received a warm welcome from his new teammates.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I got to reach out to a lot of guys over the phone. Everyone’s been really positive and it’s been great to get to know them. I was in [Halas Hall] the other day, so I saw a couple more guys. But once we get started next week is when I’ll really get to meet everybody.”