BR Rookie Diary: Ronnie Cameron

Bear Report goes one-on-one with one of Chicago's 11 undrafted rookie free agents, defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, after the second rookie minicamp practice of 2012.

At 6-2, 304 pounds, rookie defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron could be a good fit for the Chicago Bears. Cameron is known for his speed and, size as well as for his ability to shed blockers and rush the passer. Cameron comes out of Old Dominion, a school with a football program that is only in its third year.

Cameron began his collegiate career at Hofstra, in his home state of New York. He transferred to Old Dominion in 2010. As a starting DT for the Monarchs, Cameron was named to six All American squads during his two years on campus.

In 2010, he racked up 72 tackles. He topped that in 2011, picking up 73 tackles, helping Old Dominion to a 10-3 record.

Cameron views his participation in the newly formed football program at Old Dominion as an asset, citing the high level of coaching and individualized attention players received. Whether Cameron will stick in the NFL depends on his performance under scrutiny this weekend at Halas Hall during rookie minicamp.

If he does not succeed in pro football, Cameron already has a backup plan in place: a newly earned MBA in Information Technology.

Cameron talks with Bear Report about his weekend at Halas Hall:

"It was a real thrill getting the call from the Bears once the draft was over. I have to admit that draft weekend itself was no fun at all. It's difficult to hear everybody's name called but yours. However, during that time. Rod Marinelli had kept in contact with me, reassuring me that the Bears were still interested. I got the call to try out right after the draft concluded.

"I think that the Bears and I are a great fit. I bring size, speed and solid football experience. It seems as if they might be able to use more depth at my position, and I certainly will do everything in my power to convince the coaches that I am the man for that job.

"I have great respect for the tradition that is Chicago football. I understand where the team has come from in terms of its history. Having the opportunity to be a part of that is more than I ever hoped for.

"I started playing football at age seven. It was the only sport that interested me, so the player you see now is the product of many years of practice. Luckily I grew into my eventual size fairly quickly, which gave me an advantage in prep and college ball.

"The program at Old Dominion provided an excellent foundation for progression out of the college ranks and into the pros. Although the level of competition we faced wasn't anything like what will be ahead in the NFL, a lot was asked of us during our seasons. We all learned the value of hard work and found out what it takes to succeed.

"Coming here was intimidating at first. There's so much to absorb very quickly. What surprised me was the number of details. That, I think, is the big difference between college ball and the pros. You know the moves, or you think you do, but then the coaches come at you with a lot of fine points you are missing. Each play, each players function, has to be broken down and re-learned until it is perfect.

"I find that I am thinking about that so much, I am slowing down a little. My job right now is to speed up the process and get back to my usual tempo of play.

"We are in our second day of practice now and its apparent we've been working really hard. I think everybody woke up sore this morning, although some players wouldn't admit it.

"We have one more day here to impress those we need to impress. The level of competition is extremely high and everybody knows that if any of us makes mistakes, it's going to cost us.

"What we need to find is that balance between trying and succeeding. You want to play to the best of your ability. But sometimes by forcing things, by trying too hard, you end up making mental or physical errors. I want to leave this weekend with no regrets and with the knowledge that I've given this my best shot."

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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