BR Rookie Diary: Brock Vereen

Our 1-on-1 interview with Chicago Bears fourth-round rookie safety Brock Vereen, who worked as a starter throughout organized team activities (OTAs).

The Chicago Bears needed safety help this offseason. To help fill that need, GM Phil Emery traded up in the fourth round of this year's draft to select Brock Vereen out of Minnesota.

Vereen has strong NFL bloodlines and has quickly made an impact with his new team. While Chris Conte recovers from shoulder surgery, Vereen served as one of Chicago's starting safeties during organized team activities (OTAs).

We recently sat down with Vereen to discuss his first month in the NFL.

"Wow. I look around and I know that being here in this Bears uniform is a dream come true. My dad was drafted by the Bucs years ago and ended up eventually in the CFL. My brother Shane is with the Patriots, so I guess you'd say that pro football runs in our blood.

"What I think that athletic pedigree did for me was let me know from an early age that the NFL dream could become a reality. I heard what my dad went through to make it to this level. I've followed my brother Shane through every phase of his career. It has eased my transition somewhat, knowing more or less what to expect."

How eager are you to go against Shane in the Week 8 game against the New England Patriots?

"Can't wait. One of the first things I did after getting the call form the Bears was to look up the schedule. We're close as brothers but competing against him should be fun.

"I've really enjoyed the practices here so far. I'm trying to show some speed, trying to make some plays. It's pretty basic stuff at this point in the process.

"One of the biggest adjustments in the early days as a rookie is time management. We've been really busy between practice, going to Washington, IL, and getting all our football work done. I'm trying to segment my mind so I am concentrating completely on what's happening on the field and eliminate any distractions during that time.

"Our hours off of the field are spent in meetings or watching film and of course studying the playbook. It's a big load to carry but unlike college, this is our job. There are no courses to be studying for at the same time. I must admit to love not having homework once I get home at night.

"My expectations were that I would come in and work hard, lining up at any position they want to place me in. So far it's been pretty much been like that. I played cornerback and later safety in college, so I think I can adjust to work well wherever I might be needed.

"The rookie experience this far has been complete chaos. I think that is what it's supposed to be. You're just getting so much thrown at you and everything moves so fast. It's pretty much what I expected.

"What have I shown so far? I hope that what the coaches have seen from me so far is effort. That's the thing I want to have jump off at them. I'm not holding anything back. If I make a mistake, it'll be at full speed.

"I've only had eight NFL practices and I know I have a long way to go. I try not to get too frustrated if I am not perfect in any given moment on or off the field. Every day I focus on something and try to get better on that.

"I want to get to the point where I am reacting rather than thinking about what I am going to do. That's frustrating as rookies tend to over-think everything. I know I can get it down but it might take a while."

What have you enjoyed the most to this point?

"The trip to Washington, IL last week was an eye-opening and humbling experience. It reminds you that there are important things happening outside of the area of football. I'm so grateful that we went and I hope to take a trip back there soon. My main impression was one of loss. It's really beyond the imagination what they went through. Clearly it's been tough for those who are living there. Our job was to give them a sense of hope."

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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