Bennett Rookie Diary: 4th Entry

WR Earl Bennett (Warren Wimmer Photo)

Earl Bennett needs to realize that this is the Chicago Bears, not the Vanderbilt Commodores. The young wideout is starting to learn just how big the NFL is. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about his experience at last weekend's Bears Expo and saying goodbye to Cedric Benson.

Having the opportunity to go through the Football Hall of Fame with Gale Sayers was really amazing. How many football players in the NFL could say they had the chance to do something like that? All of the rookies from the Bears went to Canton last Friday. It was part of a new program that introduces the rookies to information about the great players who have been in the league before them.

Some of the things I knew about already, but a lot of it was new to me. Gale made sure that whenever we passed an exhibit that had something to do with the Bears, we stopped to take a look. Then he'd tell us these wonderful stories about Coach Halas and some of the early Bears. There was so much there – the information, the old equipment – things you'd never see anywhere else. It definitely was an experience I'll never forget.

Another experience I had recently that was definitely memorable was the Bears Expo last weekend. It was amazing. There were so many people there, and they were so enthusiastic to meet all of us. I guess playing at Vanderbilt as I did, I was more accustomed to a more low-key fan base. But here in Chicago, it was crazy. And I've heard that the first time we are playing in Soldier Field, the fans will be crazier still.

The stadium itself is beautiful. It seems to have great accommodations for players and spectators. I haven't done anything on the field there yet, but I'm certainly looking forward to that later this summer. The Expo was also a good opportunity for me to see more of downtown Chicago, which I think I told you is a place I'm not too familiar with yet.

I took part in a forum on Sunday afternoon. It was the last event of the weekend, but I was surprised at how many people stayed to hear what we had to say. The questions from the fans were really good. Most wanted to know about our experiences at this level so far – how we liked practice, if we had trouble learning the playbook, had we made friends, how we got along with our teammates – that sort of thing. It was really fun going back and forth.


WR Earl Bennett
Warren Wimmer Photography

Also, the fans were very interested to hear how we were going to get back to the Super Bowl. When we talked about that, I heard a lot of people shouting "Go Bears!" and getting all excited.

Many of the questions concerned how each of us felt we would do this first year. Would we contribute to the team? What did we feel we could add to our particular positions? And other questions along those lines. I said that I was having a lot of fun, working hard and learning a lot. I'm optimistic about the upcoming season personally and for the team as a whole.

We got a few questions about the Cedric Benson thing, too. My personal feeling is that we are professionals. This is our day-to-day job. I think most of us just concentrate on that and don't pay too much attention to other things that are going on. And, of course, being new to the team and playing wide receiver, I didn't know Cedric well. I certainly wish him well, but I think things will get back to normal for the rest of the players here pretty soon.

As far as practice goes, things are coming along well. I'm continuing to work hard, learn as much as I can and ask a lot of questions. The coaches have been great in that respect. Everybody is patient with us and letting us learn at our own speed.

I would like to mention again, though, just how helpful Rashied Davis has been to me personally. Anything the coaches don't have time to explain, Rashied is right there helping me out. I can't thank him enough for his interest and assistance.

I'm looking forward to training camp. Between now and then, I'll keep practicing and get ready to settle down in Chicago.

Earl Bennett writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for BearReport.com.

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