As an undrafted rookie out of USC, the Chicago Bears invited defensive tackle Christian Tupou to rookie minicamp back in May. His performance that weekend earned him an invite to training camp in Bourbonnais. Tupou didn’t make the roster initially but injuries compelled the Bears to sign him to the practice squad last week.
His time on the practice squad was short-lived, as he was elevated to the 53-man roster and activated before Thursday night’s game against the New York Giants.
Bear Report goes one-on-one with Tupou, who discusses the wild ride of his rookie season.
“It was great to get the call from the Bears that I was back on the roster. Getting released initially was tough but that’s what happens in this league. You have to realize that it’s a business and not take things too personally.
“I got a call a few weeks ago to come in for a tryout to see if I fit the needs that the team has now. There were four other guys there at the same time doing the same thing. I felt confident because I'd been with the team before and had a fairly good idea what I'd be able to contribute.
“When I did get the confirmation that I was back on the roster, it was a great feeling. I called the airlines and got my ticket to get back here.
“Coming back to Halas Hall, everything looks pretty familiar so settling in hasn't been a problem. There are a few other new guys so the locker room is slightly different but not too different from when I left.
“As we all know there have been some injuries, so the roster is thin in places. I fit the profile of what they were looking for right now. I think my best attributes are that I'm a hard worker and a quick learner. I'm not afraid to put in the time and effort to make it in this league.
“Not that much has changed in terms of routine since I left so picking up where I left off hasn't been a problem. This week we are concentrating on fundamentals early, then later in the week concentrating on game film and putting in the game plan.
“It’s not a distraction to be looking ahead to 20 days with one game. We'll have the road trip this weekend, then a good break before heading back on the field in a game-day situation again.
“The guys are looking forward to the bye week for sure. Everybody is pretty banged up so time off to rest and heal is a good thing. I will spend that time doing what I did when I was cut. I'll be heading to the gym and lifting, doing a lot of conditioning and the rest of that kind of work. I've always understood that my body has to carry me forward in this business. If I don't pay attention and let things slide, I'll pay the price eventually.
“There's a lot of pressure on the defense right now to produce. It’s a next-man-up situation. Somebody goes down, the next guy steps up. I want to be that next guy, the one the tam can count on to produce and give 110 percent. The Bears showed faith in my abilities in bringing me back. Now its up to me to show them that it was the right decision.”
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.