Chicago Bears rookie running back Jordan Lynch has completed his first round of organized team activities (OTAs) at the NFL level. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist is learning a new position and attempting to establish himself on the roster before the start of training camp.
We sat down with the former NIU signal caller to discuss his first taste of the National Football League.
"I can't wait to get to Bourbonnais. Remember, I'm a Chicago guy so I've been to Bears training camp many times. I always had hoped that I'd end up on the player's side of the security ropes , and now I have that chance. I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity.
"It's been a great experience here. It's everything I had hoped for and more. I love the challenge and the hard work. I enjoy meeting the other rookies and getting help from the vets. It seems to me that this is a united team. Everybody here is trying to help everyone else. It's a good, supportive atmosphere for rookies to develop.
"The biggest challenge for me of course has been the change of position. At NIU I was the quarterback. I ran the plays and spent a lot of time studying film. Here, I'm not calling plays anymore but am working at running back. I like the new position but it's a different mindset for sure. There's a lot to learn in terms of technique and overall approach.
"One big advantage I think I have as a former QB is in my ability to read plays and also to learn and understand the playbook in a relatively short period of time. I am accustomed to putting in a lot of hours studying football. It's helping the mental aspect of things to fall into place quicker, I think.
"It's just the first days of OTAs. I'm trying to learn the system and pick up as much as I can as quickly as possible. It's more difficult than you might imagine to learn a new system. I think what is used in the NFL is very unique to the NFL.
"Take the Chicago Bears' offense. It's very complex with a lot of verbiage involved. The terminology is certainly brand new to me. It takes a lot of work to pick up on it but I'm confident I'll understand things soon enough. In my experience, anything you set your mind to, you can do.
"Again, I think my past experience at quarterback is an advantage. I am accustomed to working with a variety of positions in the offense. Now that I am actually playing a new position, I can see it from the QB's perspective. It's also helped me with protection. I have a good sense of where to go on the field as a play unfolds.
"Interestingly enough, my physical experience so far has been very similar to NIU only in the fact that I carried the ball a lot in college. It wouldn't be unusual for me to get hit 25-30 times a game. So if I am knocked around a bit at running back, it's not a big deal.
"In practice, though, the big difference I notice is that for a quarterback it's all mental. For running backs the emphasis is on moving through space. I'm not saying that running backs aren't thinking but there's a lot of forward motion involved as well. So I guess I'd say my mental adjustment is the big thing.
"What I think I've showed the Bears so far is my versatility. I want to show them I can do so much stuff on the field. I have a strong work ethic and will do what it takes to make a successful play.
"I think as a rookie, the more you are able to do the batter. Pass blocking, quarterback, special teams, it's all so important. You have to be able to adjust on the fly and do what your coaches are asking of you.
"My last year at NIU I never gave any thought as to whether or not I'd make it into the NFL. For me it was all about the season we had in front of us and being successful in that. I took things one game at a time, one year at a time. Deep down I always knew that if I took care of my business and played within the system, did well in college, I'd get my shot one day."
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.