Runnels excited about his NFL future

Former Sooner running back J.D. Runnels talks about his NFL future with Chicago. Runnels was drafted in the sixth round by the Bears. (Photo/Getty Images)

Former Sooner fullback J.D. Runnels started every single game he suited up for the Sooners during his career. And for four years, OU enjoyed some of the best fullback play in the country.

Despite that great play, Runnels didn't get invited to the NFL combine nor did he get invited to play in the Senior Bowl. So on his own he worked out and was magnificent at the OU Pro Day, which would prove to land as a sixth round draft pick of the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Runnels has always been great with this reporter and he is fan of So despite being incredibly busy, Runnels slowed down long enough to be on the OUInsider Two Minute Drill.

JH: J.D., congratulations on being drafted by the Chicago Bears.

JD: "Man, thank you, thank you. It has been a long, long road with no combine and no Senior Bowl, but it has all worked out for the best. It really has."

JH: You and the Bears are perfect fit, aren't you? You know the Black and Blue Division, playing in bad weather and all that stuff. You have always been a great mud back, right? Isn't this situation almost perfect for you?

JD: "It is almost perfect. I am the peas and the Bears are the carrots. We are going to make a beautiful friendship out of this. There was not a better fit for me NFL wise than the Chicago Bears. When you talk about location, when you talk about former teammates and guys that I know playing there, and when you talk about a chance to play. Those guys have a couple of free agents, but the fact they used a draft pick on myself means just from the business side of it that basically puts me ahead of those guys.

"It is just a great scenario. It kind of reminds me of a scenario of about four years ago when I cam into a situation with basically walk-ons at the University of Oklahoma. I am trying to take things in stride. I am trying to let it all sink in. I know everything is going to workout at Oklahoma North!"

JH: Was it tough waiting through the two days of the draft?

JD: "It was pretty tough, but the thing about it was that fullback is such a marginal position. When the one fullback got taken in front of me, David Kirtman from USC, it wasn't that hard. He got a good deal with Seattle, but I think I have an even better deal with Chicago. Best of luck to him and I just hope I out do him in the pros."

JH: How did you bide your time before you got picked? Did you actually watch the draft?

JD: "I said I wasn't going to watch the draft and I was going to play some golf on the first day, but it ended up raining. So I ended up just watching the draft a little bit while I was dozing in and out. I knew where I was projected and where I expected to go, and I knew who liked me and who didn't.

"I kind of kept an eye out on certain picks and, other than that, I just kind of laid back and let everything come to me. Finally, at about 195, I got that phone call."

JH: How much did it help you that you played your college football at Oklahoma?

JD: "It helped me tremendously. I can honestly say that playing at Oklahoma got me the Chicago Bears job. I would have made it to the NFL had I not been at Oklahoma, but I don't think I would be playing for the Chicago Bears had I not had the Oklahoma tradition and had those guys not liked Oklahoma so much.

"The scout that came down to watch us was huge on Oklahoma guys. He said that I had one of the better fullback workouts that he had ever seen. So, everything just worked out. Like I said earlier, I called it Oklahoma North. We really are going to turn that place around. Hopefully we will get Lovie Smith (Bears Head Coach) into loving these Oklahoma guys and that way we can see teammates come through here every year."

JH: Can you share with us what they said on their phone call with you?

JD: "I sure can. They called me right before the pick and they said, 'We loved you when we came up here and they said we are going to take you. We are just excited that you are going to be a Bear.' I got a chance to talk to Lovie Smith and everything.

"He said they had been scouting me for a while, and that they thought that I would be a good fit for that offense. They just said that they thought that I was perfect for that offense, that they were excited to have me and that they had a good past with the Oklahoma alumni."

JH: Have you talked to Tommie Harris, Mark Bradley or Dusty Dvoracek yet?

JD: "This is a funny story. I am sitting here talking to the Bears on the phone and my name comes across the board and they draft me. The Bears call me and all of a sudden Dusty is calling in trying to talk to me. When I did get to talk to him we talked about going up there together. I haven't talked to Tommie and Mark, but I will in due time. Everything will work out. They used a draft pick on me and those guys know that I am heading up there and the type of guy that I am."

JH: Do they use the fullback in their offense? And do they have a fullback on the roster?

JD: "They do use the fullback. They talk about being one of the hard-nosed teams in football. They talk about having a great defense, and along with have a great defense you have to have a great running game to practice against them every day. Their situation at fullback is that they have two free agent guys there, one of the guys was banged up last year.

"They are basically telling me if I come in there full-steam ahead that it is my job to lose. James, you know me. You can't tell me anything like that because I will end up starting for about five to six in a row, or 10 or 11."

JH: I always thought you were a great mud back. And since now you will be playing the most in the Black and Blue Division in all that bad weather up there, you have to be looking forward to that don't you?

JD: "Yeah, I am looking forward to that. I hear they have a new field and it handles bad weather better. I am just excited and ecstatic about the opportunity in every form, shape, way that I look at it. I am so blessed for the opportunity. I am so excited about being a Chicago Bear."

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