There will come a day, not all that long from now, when young Mitchell Trubisky ends up on that familiar old pile of once-ballyhooed NFL quarterbacks whose inability to cut it as a starter sends them elsewhere into the shadows of life as a veteran backup.
The disappointing Bears starter, picked ahead of Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in a mistake Ryan Pace can never outrun, will join the likes of fellow former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota. He'll disappear, as Mariota, the former Titans starter, did in Las Vegas until seeing his first action only after Derek Carr was injured in Week 15's opening game on Thursday night.
Even Bears coach Matt Nagy isn't dodging reality.
"Every player in this league has their own story," he said. "And we don't know where Mitch's story is going to end up."
Actually, the Bears do know where it won't end up: in Chicago, which declined to pick up Trubisky's fifth-year option for $24.5 million worth of obvious reasons.
But, as Nagy also said, Trubisky has at least three more punches to throw as a Bear. And it starts Sunday with the opportunity to knock out the Vikings in what essentially amounts to a playoff game between two 6-7 teams at empty U.S. Bank Stadium.
"All we can do is focus on where he's at right now, at this moment," Nagy said. "He's been through a lot in three years, four years. For him to be able to get where he's at right now, the way he's doing it, that's a credit to him. You can't take that away from him."
Nagy has spent the week talking confidently about one of the league's most miserable offenses "finding an identity" in the three games since Trubisky returned from his seven-game benching. Never mind the 1-2 record.
In the past three games, the Bears have run the ball more while averaging 30.3 points, 383 yards and 25 first downs. By comparison, with Nick Foles at quarterback for their 19-13 loss to the Vikings last month, the Bears offense produced 149 yards, 10 first downs and two field goals.
"I do feel more comfortable," said Trubisky, whose first stint as starter this season came before Nagy turned over play-calling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
"After getting benched and being able to go back in, this is just kind of some of the things I've been asking for."
Trubisky is running more. Moving the pocket more. Throwing more high-percentage passes.
"I feel like they are strengths of mine and also strengths of this offense," he said.
It also helps to play the defenses from Detroit and Houston on consecutive weeks. Last week's 36-7 win over the Texans was a season high for points scored and Chicago's biggest blowout win since 2018.
The Bears were especially sharp on first downs. It led to fewer third downs and less stress on Trubisky.
In taking a 30-7 halftime lead, the Bears faced only five third downs in 35 snaps over six possessions. They scored two touchdowns without facing third down and converted three third downs in two other touchdown drives.
Trubisky dropped back 14 times on first down throughout the game. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 138 yards, five first downs and one touchdown. He was sacked once.
He also had three of Chicago's 14 first-down runs. He gained 4, 5 and 5 yards.
And now Trubisky has three regular-season games and, who knows, maybe a playoff appearance to earn his next contract, wherever it may come from.
"You're always trying to put good play on tape," he said. "That's your legacy."
A reporter then asked Trubisky if he thought he might somehow end up back in Chicago in 2021. There was a pause as he figured out how to throw that question away.
"I've thought about it, but thoughts come and go," he said. "I just got to stay focused on what's about to happen this weekend. I'm trying to beat the Minnesota Vikings."
Mark Craig is an NFL and Vikings Insider. Twitter: @markcraigNFL E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org