After participating in the Bears rookie mini-camp May 5-7, NFL rules prohibited Day from returning to the facility until he completed his final exams at Oregon.
“As a competitor you want to give the coaches as many looks as you can,” Day said after spending an extra 20 minutes on the practice field with tight ends coach Rob Boras on Wednesday. “I felt like with me not being here for like three or four weeks they couldn’t really see me. I’ve just got to catch myself up.
“I’m in the film (room). Just talking to Coach (Boras), asking him those tips that I can do to catch myself back up and trying to do the stuff they’re putting in the next day. It’s going to be hard, but I’ve just got to put in (more) work than everyone else.”
Day had to divide his time during his final weeks at Oregon. He studied the playbook, while preparing for his two last exams. If his effort in the classroom is any indication of his football work ethic, the Bears could have a diamond in the rough. Day scored a 97 percent on his finance final, which will likely allow him to graduate with a 4.0 grade point average.
The fact that Day is no longer being pulled in two directions is a relief for the 22-year-old.
“I’m not going to lie you, it really (was tough),” Day said about concentrating on school and football. “Cause I had plays that I had in my book and I was trying to study plus study (the playbook) and business is hard.
“It’s calming, I’ve got one thing to concentrate on.”
The Bears will hold their final four organized team activities June 19-22, before breaking until the start of training camp. The six-foot-3, 255-pounder is still in good shape, but the time away from the field has impacted his understanding of the offense.
“I didn’t really feel like a step behind (in practice),” Day said. “I just felt like I didn’t know as much as (other players) did knowledge wise. I still feel confident. I don’t feel nervous.
“The coaches are saying I’ve just got to catch up on the playbook. But (Coach Boras has) been telling me stuff to do that (the other players are) doing out here working out wise. So I don’t feel like I’m behind working wise, just on the playbook.”
The competition for the two reserve roles behind starter Desmond Clark is wide open. If Day can overcome a history of injury problems to show he’s the tight end that caught 86 balls for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns at Oregon, he has an excellent chance of making the 53-man roster.