BR Rookie Diary: Paea 4th Entry

Bears defensive tackles Stephen Paea talks about the devastating news of Sam Hurd's arrest, hitting the proverbial "rookie wall", facing the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and more.

I can't really comment much on the Sam Hurd situation. It's a personal thing for him, and something none of us have any details about. We are all working hard on our own personal lives, and simply don't have the opportunity or the time to know about or to understand what somebody else is doing off of the field.

We have no control over this. What will happen from here will happen no matter what we do, or what we think about it.

All of us are sorry to see something like this happen to a teammate, somebody who we worked with every day. I can say that I certainly wish him the best and hope that his situation works out for him.

It's difficult to work on football with all of the other things going on. But that is where our focus can and must be right now. We are definitely in playoff mode. By that I mean that lose one game, and we're done for the season. I think we are all optimistic that we can win out, though it certainly has been difficult these past few weeks.

DT Stephen Paea
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Many of the veterans have told me that success at this level is all about your level to concentrate. You need to study film, to practice hard and to play well to be successful. In a few years from now, what we have been able to do on the field is what will count in the record book. I don't mean to sound harsh but nobody looking back will care about our distractions or our problems. It's winning that counts.

Moving on to what is before us right now:

I've been playing a lot during games and for me, that's a great thing. I may be listed as a backup but when I am on the field, in my mind I am a starter. It's all a matter of perception, I think. See yourself as somebody's backup and you're destined to function as a backup forever. See yourself as a quality, impact type of a guy and that is what you will become.

It's thrilling to be there playing against all these other great teams. I'm learning so much. My mom always kids me because when I talk to her on the phone on the way to Halas Hall, I say 'Mom, I'm heading to school' because that is the way I view being here. It's like a seminar every day, there is so much to absorb.

I love the fact that football now is my job. I can focus on it completely without any distractions. I am willing to put in the time, just as I would be doing if I were still taking classes in college. I feel that my future is in my hands and that I will get out of this experience what I put into it. Work hard and success will come.

I've been asked if this experience is what I had expected it to be, or if it's completely different from what I thought would happen. I guess the answer would be yes to both parts. It is what I expected it to be in terms of the locker room atmosphere, which is similar to college, but very different in terms of the difficulty of all you have to absorb in a short period of time.

Looking ahead to this when I was in college, I never anticipated the lockout, or having to come in and play well in a very short period of time once the lockout was over. But pressure is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes you come out of yourself and do even better than you hoped you could do.

The only thing I am surprised at is that I am really tired. The vets tell me this is common rookie year and that I need to be careful in terms of resting whenever I have that opportunity. They've told me that rest is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It prevents muscle fatigue and can help ward off injuries. I try to take it easy Monday and Tuesday so my body is functioning well by start of practice Wednesday.

Looking ahead to Seattle, I feel they will be a challenge. Their defense is very strong and their offense can pose a deep threat. We're going to need to focus on football and only on football to get this done. I am confident; we all are. We know what we need to do. There is no room for error this Sunday.

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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