It's just great being here. You know, I've never been to Chicago in my entire life. In fact, I still haven't been to Chicago since all that I've seen is the city from the air as the plane from Florida landed at O'Hare. I certainly plan to take the time to learn about this area once I relocate and have a chance to settle in some.
Making it to this level had always been a dream of mine. I've always felt that I could reach my goals if I was willing to work to achieve them. So far, things are going according to that plan.
We've just finished the three days of minicamp with all the veterans here. It's been fun and also somewhat exhausting. For the rookies, at least, all of your time is spent on football. There's so much to learn and a limited time to take it all in. I've been going from the hotel to the field then back to the hotel again. It's pretty much a blur so far, but I'm sure that I'll be able to sort it out eventually.
Rookie camp was unique because it's all about the new guys. We came in right after the draft and worked one on one with the coaches. It was an excellent experience. During this minicamp, the rookies are no longer at the center of everything. The vets come first, as they should. As a new guy, you have to learn to take your time and to be patient waiting for your chance to play.
I've met the other rookies and am beginning to form friendships, but to this point, there just isn't enough time to go much beyond what happens on the practice field. We're either too busy or too tired.
At first, it was pretty intimidating. That feeling doesn't last long, as you are simply too busy to dwell on it, but there you are on the field with guys you've only seen before on TV. Pretty amazing. But then you need to get back in your head and realize that if you want to eventually become one of the guys who is seen on TV, it's time to pay attention to the coaches and soak up all the technique that you can.
I was rotated in and out during the practices. What I found extremely helpful was the opportunity to watch Chris Harris and Craig Steltz. They're fast, forceful and good. What surprised me to a certain extent was the fact that the vets are out there helping us learn our positions. I was concentrating on the footwork primarily, and also on the routes the receivers were running. It was clear to me that being good at this level is about reacting quickly enough to be effective.
I'd heard that a common rookie mistake is when you think before you move, so that is one of the things I'm going to be concentrating on improving. I want to get to the point where I am in motion, and then I think about it.
I think my strengths are my overall speed and my desire to win. What I need to learn is how to refine my technique and use my body in the most advantageous way. Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke has been very helpful with that. He takes the time to talk me through plays and to increase my comfort level on the field.
How do I feel being the only draft pick who has not been signed yet? I don't concern myself with that, and I don't allow it to be a distraction. I trust that my agent and the team will come to an agreement in good time. I'm here to play, and I am sure things will be resolved in good time.
I'd like to tell the fans that I'm happy to be here and that I certainly am looking forward to playing for the Bears this fall. This will be a great experience, and I will put every effort into becoming an effective part of this team.
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