It was incredibly exciting to get the call to move from the practice squad into the regular roster. Really, this is beyond my wildest dreams. When I found out, I hardly knew what to do. It was that good. My family is thrilled as well, as you can imagine. Not only does this make a huge difference to my family and myself professionally, but financially as well.
Coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, I've always felt that I had something to prove. Perhaps some of that burden is off of me emotionally right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to give this 100 percent of my efforts all of the time. I suspect that, inside myself, I'll always feel that I have something to prove, to show that I am worthy of playing at this level, and if that helps the overall quality of my play, then it's a very good thing.
It was interesting to me to see the difference between practice and actually lining up for a home-field game. The intensity is so much higher when you know that it counts.
It's the same as the difference between college and the pros and between training camp and the regular season. Everything moves a whole lot faster. You have to react quickly and always keep your mind in the game. I think I did fine on that last weekend, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
One other thing that I need to get used to is the communication on the line. The guys who have worked together for a long time have their own language. I need to understand that and be able to act on what I hear.
The vets are really helpful any time I have a question. They understand that I am competing for position and that I want to do well. And when I am not in the game, watching them from the sideline and making notes about what I see is very helpful.
Playing at Soldier Field for the first time was beyond belief. The fans are incredible. I went to Nebraska, so I am familiar with intense games, but this is another level entirely. The other thing I like is that it is clear to me that the fans understand the game. They get very involved and let you know what they think about the way you play. The energy from the stands is definitely there on our side of the field.
It will be beneficial to me during the bye period to study film and see what I was doing, then figure out how to be better. I also plan to watch a lot of other teams playing on TV. At this stage, I think, the more football I can soak up, the better. I'm sure I'll also catch up with my friends and former teammates.
Other than that, I'm going to hang out and rest up. It's a long season, particularly when this is the beginning of your career. In college, we were done much earlier than the NFL season is finished. I try to eat right, relax when I can and give my body the best chance to be strong through the rest of this season.
I try not to read many media reports on the team. Sometimes I think their perspective is different from ours as players, but everybody is certainly entitled to an opinion. I think when we show what we are capable of achieving on the field, any negativity outside of our team will turn around.
Personally, I am looking forward to the game in Toronto against the Bills. The Bills are a strong team, and we'll definitely be challenged. Next week after the break, we'll be concentrating on that game plan and getting ready to go. I am hoping to get a chance to be out there again. As a young player, the more reps you get, the better. Game experience is so valuable in learning how things are done.
During practice, I'm working on my reaction time, my speed on the ball and my agility. I'm at big guy at 6-3, but I need to be able to move as well as the smaller players.
I'm excited and optimistic. This is a tremendous opportunity, and I'm going to do all that I can to make the best of it.
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BR Rookie Diary: Turner, 1st Entry
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