The former second-round pick became a playmaker for the Bears’ young secondary in 2022, starting all 15 games in which he was active and compiling a team-high 103 tackles and four sacks. His 73 solo tackles were the third most among any NFL rookie during the regular season.
While Brisker’s stat sheet proves his rookie year was a success, the Pittsburgh native felt his performance last season fell short of personal expectations, adding, “Just looking at what I did last year, I know it wasn’t me . it was better.”
His biggest disappointment was not playing in all 17 games as he missed Weeks 12 and 13 in concussion protocol. He also dealt with an injury in the preseason, limiting his reps in training camp. Brisker said he can’t remember missing a game since his sophomore year in high school and believes “availability is the best ability.”
After finishing the 2022 season healthy, Brisker entered the offseason with an emphasis on taking care of his body. With more time to himself over the past few months, the safety has been able to “get back to the workouts I always did” and focus on eating right and strengthening certain parts of his body to prevent future injuries.
That off-season work included stints in California, Chicago and at his alma mater, Penn State. Brisker said he spent time working with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and fellow Pittsburgh native Aaron Donald, along with former college teammates Joey Porter Jr. and J’Air Brown.
Staying connected with his teammates during the offseason was another focus for Brisker as he looked to continue to build on the relationships established in the locker room last season. When Brisker returned to Chicago throughout the offseason, he often worked with veteran safety Eddie Jackson, whom he grew close to during his rookie season, and saw teammates like quarterback Justin Fields in Halas Hall.
“Just keep building the chemistry, that’s always important because we all have the same goals,” Brisker said. “But it’s even better when you’re training with each other and obviously having conversations and going to each other’s houses and things like that. It’s also important to train with the best players in the league and just really get a feel for each other and things like that, always learning from each other and always taking something away.”
Although Brisker has spent much of the last three months focused on football, he knew it would be beneficial to take some time off before getting stronger for the 2023 season.
Before returning to Chicago last Monday for the Bears’ voluntary offseason program, Brisker returned home to Pittsburgh for 12 days and hosted his first toy drive on April 7. Brisker said she was proud to be a part of the event and saw “a lot of smiles on the kids’ faces” as “the kids really enjoyed themselves.”
Brisker said adding a positive influence to his hometown community was a priority of his even before entering the NFL. Finally being able to serve as a role model and give back to the kids in the area where he grew up was a monumental moment for Brisker, who often looked for someone like that throughout his childhood.
“When I was a kid, I always felt like I needed someone in my position to come up or always give back, or I was just wondering where those players were,” Brisker said. “I feel like with myself, I’ve always wanted to give back. I’ve always said that. You never know, you could change the life of one, maybe five, ten people just by showing up.
“So I just feel like a kid, that’s what I always wanted. And not too many people give back. Especially for my town, kids don’t see guys like me come back and actually be face to face with them and do stuff like that. So I feel like that’s really big, especially helping kids in need and kids that don’t have two parents or whatever the situation is. I was one of those kids before, so I know how it feels. “