Rookie Diary: Dane Sanzenbacher

WR Dane Sanzenbacher (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

Rookie wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher has been one of the team's most impressive players so far this offseason. Bear Report spoke with him about his efforts to earn a roster spot and more.

Dane Sanzenbacher signed with the Bears this year as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State. A product of Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Sanzenbacher committed to OSU in 2006. He was a four-year starter, finishing his collegiate career with 121 receptions for 1,820 yards. Relatively undersized at 5-11, 182 pounds, Sanzenbacher has impressed Bears coaches with his quickness, speed and intelligence. Sanzenbacher talked to Bear Report this week just days before final cuts.

"You know, it's not something I try to think too much about. It's not as if I have any control over things anyway. I just try to go out there every day and do the best I possibly can."

"I was asked earlier today if this is the first time I've had to compete for my position. [It's] funny, that isn't something I'd ever given any consideration to, but I guess that's true. And it's not a bad thing necessarily. A little competition can get you to raise the level of your game."

"How badly do I want to stick with the Bears? More than I can even express to you right now. My agent was contacted by a number of NFL teams earlier this spring. We went over all of the possible situations very carefully before choosing Chicago."


WR Dane Sanzenbacher
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

"I feel it's a good fit for me for a variety of reasons. Of course there's the tradition of the Chicago Bears. Anybody who has been in football at all has heard of that and certainly respects it. Then there's Mike Martz. He's so well known for being a master at what he does. Who wouldn't want to get the opportunity to play under him?"

And what about the Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler?

"He's been great this whole time, much more patient than I would have expected him to be. And when you do get that opportunity to get in there with the first team, it helps a lot knowing that the quarterback has confidence in you."

"During camp I've had the opportunity to catch quite a few of his passes. It's really fun and something I'd certainly want to continue doing."

"I've been asked the difference between Bears camp and college ball. For one thing, it's a lot more intense here. Ohio State was a great training ground and to have the chance to move on and play at this level would be fantastic."

"I was asked today about the NCAA problem the Buckeyes had. I knew that the whole Ohio State thing would be brought up at some point and evidently today was the day. We were all saddened by what happened. Nobody ever imagined that Jim Tressel would not be able to choose when he'd be leaving the program. But I think they have things under control now."

"The new head coach, Luke Fickell, has an excellent reputation. I think that the athletes there feel they now have something to prove. I'll be watching them play when I can and definitely hoping that they have an outstanding season."

"What have I learned here so far? Well, most obviously I guess I've learned the fact that this is a job. I'ts a lot different when you are playing in college and taking classes at the same time. Here it's much more serious. This is our livelihood and our financial welfare depends on our abilities. If that doesn't make you play hard, I don't know what will."

"Also there is a responsibility on all of us. We need to take care of our bodies, to eat right, to rest, that kind of thing. Nobody is as responsible for yourself as the guy you are looking at in the mirror."

"I'm definitely looking forward to the game this Thursday night. It's against a team from Ohio so that will be fun for me. But other than that, the pressure will be on all of us who are trying to make this team. You always want to put your best foot forward. It's a last chance before final cuts to show the coaches what you can do. I'm hoping for a lot of on-field time."

"I think I've put myself in a good position. It was a wild camp up to now, things flying around all over the place since we got here. Every day I've tried to absorb what they've been teaching us trying to minimize mistakes. At the end of each day you want to have done something that the coaches will remember, in a good way. That's particularly true for this upcoming game. But if I make mistakes I'm not going to dwell on them. I think that I have have ability to move forward and do well with this team."


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.

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