For Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., the 24-17 victory against the Green Bay Packers to clinch the NFC North was only the first of what he hoped would be two reasons to celebrate Sunday.
The second was his plan to propose to his girlfriend, Jennifer Marie Roth, in the middle of Soldier Field, on the Bears’ orange “C” logo, after the game. When he took out a ring and asked her if she would become Jennifer Marie Leno Jr., she said yes several times as teammates jumped for joy around them.
‘I had that planned from the jump’
“It was a really, really special day for me,” Leno told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. He added that he would have gone through with the proposal even if the Bears had lost, although he was fully expecting his team to win. “I had that planned from the jump. It was a good feeling (from) earlier in the week. I was just like, ‘I have to do it this week.’ I just had a feeling the way we prepared this week and the way the guys were focused and the way we came out, I just knew we were going to win and I knew it was going to be a special day.”
Leno said he had long determined to propose to his girlfriend after one home game this season, although he didn’t know exactly which it would be.
‘It was a couple weeks of process, but I said, let me just shoot my shot’
“But then, right after the (Dec. 9) Rams game (the Bears won, 15-6), I was like, ‘Yeah, we have a chance to clinch if we win next week (against Green Bay),’ so I was like, ‘Yeah, I have to do it this week.’ It was a couple weeks of process, but I said, let me just shoot my shot now and go ahead and do it.”
“I can’t ask for any better teammates and coaches and just the whole building and the city of Chicago.”
Leno, who said no wedding date has been set and that he and his fiancé are just “enjoying being engaged right now,” is enjoying something else: being on a team that, for the first time since he joined the Bears in 2014, is going to be in the playoffs.
‘We knew we were getting it turned around’
“Man, it’s awesome,” Leno said. “I’ve been in some dark days out here in Chicago and I’m just ecstatic right now. I’m glad we’re playing some really good ball right now. I’m just happy for the guys in the locker room that have been through the same thing I’ve been through. We knew we were getting it turned around, but it was just a matter of when. And now that it’s happening right now. I can’t ask for any better teammates and coaches and just the whole building and the city of Chicago. They’re behind (us), too.”
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