Along for the ride

Most of the Bears players showed up at training camp sporting Hummers, Escalades and Navigators. Some showed up in their BMWs, while others came in pickup trucks. Not <!--Default NodeId For Jerry Schumacher is 738244,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738244]>Jerry Schumacher</A>.

His mom and dad dropped him off.

"I'm probably the only guy in the NFL that doesn't have a driver's license," said the Mt. Carmel grad. "I never finished driver's ed. I'll get it sooner or later, but I still haven't gotten my license yet."

Schumacher, who played linebacker at Illinois and signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent, was a two-time second-team all-Big Ten performer for the Illini. He ranks eighth in career tackles (370) and started 35 of 47 career games in Champaign.

Schumacher's specialty is tackling, not driving.

"In college, once I was at the stadium, I was there; I never really left so it wasn't a big deal," Schumacher said. "Right now I really haven't had the opportunity to drive, so I'm just riding along in a golf cart.

"I don't mind, but all my friends get tired of it. They tell me as soon as I get my license I'm the main driver for at least two years to make up for all the times they drove me somewhere."

Schumacher's biggest concern right now is making the roster, not when he'll be able to get behind a steering wheel.

"It's not really pressure, because I'm living a dream right now just being here," Schumacher said. "I didn't come here just for camp, I came here to make the team.

"The main thing right now is special teams. I'm trying to work my tail off right now and show what I can do there."

The former Mt. Carmel two-sport standout helped the Caravan to the 1998 Illinois Class 5A state championship and 14-0 record. Schumacher went on to Illinois where he led the team in tackles as a junior and started all 12 games, including the Sugar Bowl. He started all 11 games as a sophomore, and played in all 12 games as a reserve linebacker as a true freshman.

It's been a different story with the Bears.

"I'm not used to running with the third team," Schumacher said, "but I'm just trying to learn the (play)book and take advantage of the opportunities. I am getting reps and seeing some action.

"When I'm out there I just need to show what I can do in order to make this team."

Schumacher, a Chicago native, doesn't hold any grudges about not being drafted. He's just concerned about the here and now and trying to win over a few coaches -- and hopefully a roster spot.

"I couldn't have picked a better place to be," Schumacher said of Chicago. "It was unfortunate not to be picked up in the late rounds, but I'm just glad I've got an opportunity with the Bears.

"It does put a chip on your shoulder, but you can't worry about that stuff. There's a ton of guys out there who never got drafted and still make a team. I just need to worry about myself and let the chips fall."

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