By Larry Mayer
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Bears players and coaches who were part of last season's team were presented with their NFC championship rings during a 45-minute ceremony Thursday night at training camp.
The team also watched the 2006 highlight tape and made a special presentation to owner Virginia McCaskey.
“Everybody’s excited, just to see how much of a team effort it was for everybody,” said cornerback Nathan Vasher
. “From the top to the bottom, everybody had a hand in it.
“We had an opportunity to give thanks to everybody and kind of put the  season to rest. But it definitely makes you want to finish the chapter.”
The top of the ring features a diamond encrusted “C” framed by a rising outline of the Soldier Field stands. One side sports the player’s name, a depiction of Soldier Field and the Super Bowl XLI logo.
The other side is inscribed with the score of the Bears’ 39-14 win over the Saints in the NFC title game, an image of the NFC championship trophy and the initials of Bears founder and longtime coach and owner George Stanley Halas.
“We worked hard for this ring,” said wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who as one of the team captains helped design it. “We had a really good season last year. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to finish, but I think that’s going to motivate us for this year.”
Muhammad and the others who collaborated on the ring wanted to create a unique design.
“We came up with some new and different ideas and I think it turned out great,” he said. “The thing that makes this ring so unique is the design. It has the contour of the stadium. There’s plenty of diamonds, plenty of bling-bling. You’ve got to love that. It’s a great piece of jewelry.”
Though they’re hungry to win the Super Bowl, Bears players aren’t viewing the ring as a consolation prize.
“A lot of these guys have played for years and haven’t had an opportunity to win anything,” Muhammad said. “It’s not the Super Bowl ring, but there is some gratification knowing that we put in this hard work and knowing what we are capable of as a football team. It’s a great thing for us.”
“I tend to be a positive person, so I look at it as an NFC championship ring rather than a second place ring,” said quarterback Rex Grossman
“It’s still something to be proud of. It was an unbelievable scene in Soldier Field when we won the NFC and what a great memory it was. That is what I will think about when I look at the ring rather than not winning the Super Bowl. But it is also a reminder that we still have one more step to take.”