Bucs tight end Cameron Brate grew up an hour west of Chicago in Naperville, Ill., and for the third year in a row, he's trying to convince friends and family back home to stop rooting for the Bears and pull for him against his childhood team.
"I'm not sure. It's still early in the season, so they haven't given up yet on the Bears," Brate said. "Maybe if we get the win this week, they'll convert over to Bucs fans this year."
Brate has had good success against the Bears -- he had a 46-yard catch against Chicago in 2015, and had a career-best seven catches for 84 yards and a touchdown in last year's 36-10 win in Tampa. He watched the Bears on Sunday and saw Falcons tight end Austin Hooper have an 88-yard touchdown and a 40-yard catch against the defense he'll face Sunday, though he said he expects them to address that problem in practice this week.
"Both of his catches, not to take anything away from him, but they just didn't cover him," Brate said of Hooper. "I'm sure they're working to fix that. Last year we had some success down the middle of the field throwing the ball, so we think we'll have some good looks, but I'm sure they're focused on fixing the mistakes from last week."