Lyman has break out game

CHICAGO, IL - Dustin Lyman had a difficult season in 2000. He was drafted in the third round (87th overall) out of Wake Forrest. He played linebacker for the Demon Deacons, but was converted to tight end where he hadn't played since his high school days.

He was unable to make a smooth transition into the NFL. In 14 games he made one catch for four yards. He contributed on special teams with 10 tackles.

However, he wasn't drafted to make tackles anymore. He was supposed to be the one breaking them.

"I'm feeling pretty good. I'm used to the transition," Lyman said. "Last year was hard. I don't even think I realized how hard it was until I had a chance to look back on it. The level of comfort I'm at this year is so much greater than were I was compared to last year. I can finally do some things to make myself a better tight end."

Lyman knows that he will have to be able to do more than catch the ball as a tight end. With the commitment to the running game blocking might separate one tight end from another.

"I'm going to have to do it all with the commitment to the running game. We're playing a much more traditional tight end role in the new offense," Lyman said.

He had a good start to the 2001 season. His 31-yard catch from Danny Wuerffel with under a minute to go in overtime set up the game winning field goal by Paul Edinger.

"A lot of it was concentration and a lot of it was just reaction. I know that I had beaten the guy that was covering me. I had his back turned and I know there was a guy coming over the top. Danny (Wuerffel) put in a perfect spot where I could catch it. At that point I just wanted to make sure that I held on to the ball," Lyman said.

The second year tight end was the Bears leading receiver with four catches for a total of 64-yards.

"I think I'm building a relationship with the quarterbacks now, where they feel comfortable throwing in my directions. I knew if they did I could make some plays and it worked out well."

Lyman added he thinks this might be the first time he's felt comfortable at tight end in terms of knowing what to do and expect.

"I have good deal more confidence out there. I know when to expect the ball, I know how it's coming out of the pocket and I'm not afraid to go up and get it."

Head coach Dick Jauron was also pleased with Lyman's effort. "Dustin Lyman is a young player and showed up and made a big play (to put us in a position to win the game," he said.

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