ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Broncos haven't been the same since linebacker Danny Trevathan bolted to the Bears following Denver's Super Bowl parade 3½ years ago.
They're 20-29 since then, including a loss at Oakland in their opener last week under Vic Fangio, their third head coach in that span.
They've gone 20-30 during Trevathan's time in Chicago, including 8-24 in two seasons under former Broncos coach John Fox and last year's 12-5 mark under Matt Nagy that snapped an eight-year playoff drought but ended with a deflating playoff loss at home to the Eagles.
After that game, the Bears also lost Fangio, their highly respected defensive mastermind, to the Broncos, who gave him his first head coaching job.
Fangio said he loved coaching Trevathan, and Trevathan said he loved playing for Fangio.
"The good thing about it is that there is always something that you can learn. He's definitely one I learned from," Trevathan said.
Trevathan returns to Denver on Sunday when the Bears (0-1) visit the Broncos (1-0) for Fangio's home debut, and linebacker Todd Davis , who became the starter when Trevathan left, is hoping to play after returning from a torn calf that sidelined him for eight weeks.
Davis said he learned a lot from Trevathan and would love to show him firsthand.
"He's always a guy that's going to finish every play. He's a tough, nasty player and that's what I love about him and I tried to bring that with me when he left because I definitely like what he brought to the game," Davis said.
Davis fondly recalls how Trevathan lost two molars in a game against the Chargers, accidentally swallowing one and spitting out the other after he'd forgotten to put in his mouth guard.
"It just shows how tough he is," Davis said. "I love him and I love the way he plays."
Von Miller said Davis plays the same way, calling him "our big-hit guy, our big playmaker guy."
"Yeah, he's a thug. He's our thug," Miller said. "Every team has got to have one and Todd is ours. It'll be great to have Todd back in the defense."
And it'll be great to see Trevathan back in Denver, Davis said.
"It was tough to see him leave because he was such a huge piece of this defense, helped us win a Super Bowl," Davis said. "But also it was my opportunity to shine so I feel like I took advantage of it and now I'm here and we get to play each other, so it'll be fun."
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