LAKE FOREST | Jordan Mills hears it from fans nearly everywhere he goes.
Super Bowl XLIX. Glendale, Az. Bring the sun screen.
Dudes, give it a rest. The Bears' regular-season kickoff with Buffalo is still 78 days away.
"I hear it every now and then," Mills nodded. "We've just got to take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, until we're through the regular season, in the playoffs, and maybe the Super Bowl.
"We're not even in training camp yet."
Tell that to those antsy fans.
"I know they're talkin' Super Bowl but we've got to have our minds focused on the moment and not worry about the future," Mills said.
So, don't make any hotel reservations just yet?
"Hey, those fans bleed the orange and blue," said a smiling Mills. "I'm glad to see their intensity and the thoughts they have about us. Knowing they want us to go to the Super Bowl drives us more.
"Coach (Marc) Trestman always says we need to get to Grant Park to celebrate with our fans at the end of the year, and that's what we're striving for."
But first, all together now:
"One day, one practice, one preseason game, at a time," Mills repeated.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound fifth-round pick was basically a spectator at last week's three-day mini-camp, still recovering from surgery on a cracked fifth metatarsal bone suffered in the season finale with Green Bay.
"I'm resting my foot a little bit until it's good and ready to go. I can't wait for the season to start," Mills said. "We're real comfortable. Last year was a new regime, getting to know new coaches, players and the style of how they want us to play.
"We're closer now as a team, like brothers in a family. We know the ins and outs of the offense, so I feel it's gonna be a great year. The whole line is a brotherhood, this whole football team is a brotherhood."
For the first time in five seasons with Chicago, quarterback Jay Cutler didn't spend many Sundays on his back, staring up at the heavens.
He was sacked only 19 times -- his fewest as a Bear.
The emergence of rookie starters Mills (right tackle) and Kyle Long (right guard) had a lot to do with saving Cutler's skin.
"Last year, me and Kyle were the young pups. The energy and passion the veterans showed really helped us out," Mills said. "It was a collective effort from everybody ... telling us we needed to do this, we needed to do that.
"That's how we jelled together. Now, I don't need to ask anyone. I know what to do. You don't have to be a 12-year veteran to lead. I can lead now."