No laughing matter

Bears first round draft pick DE <!--Default NodeId For Michael Haynes is 738187,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738187]>Michael Haynes</A>, who has a strong interest in Veterinary Science, reflects on the Siegfreid and Roy tiger mauling incident, dangerous elephants, and life in the NFL.

I've got to tell you that the whole Siegfreid and Roy act never made much sense to me. Sure, they were experienced animal trainers and claimed to have worked with the tigers since they were kittens, but come on, you're still dealing with a wild animal. You should never be surprised in a situation like that because anything can happen with a big cat.

And what was the deal with Roy (Horn) hitting the tiger in the face with his microphone as the attack began? Somehow, I just don't see being able to stop an animal that large with something that small. Didn't they have tranquilizer guns? You would have thought so.

I've read that Roy is still in intensive care but is expected to recover. I wonder if they are ever going to have that tiger act running again. Hopefully not. There's just too much of a chance for something to go wrong.

While I'm on the subject, let's talk about elephants. Trained elephants? Another very bad idea. They are big and they are unpredictable. If one is frightened or startled and you happen to be standing nearby, that's probably not going to be a good situation. Have you ever looked at their feet? They're huge. One misstep and you're history. I'll stick to working with smaller animals, thank you.

Well, we got a win last week against Oakland and it did wonders for the morale of this team. But I have to admit that I was very dissatisfied with the way I performed. I am not starting at this point in time. I am called in sporadically. When I am called to take the field, I need to be ready. That mental and physical edge has to be 100% all of the time because you never know when the coach will be calling our number. This is particularly important as a rookie when your coaches are evaluating everything you do out there. Believe me, they see your mistakes as well as what you are doing that's ok.

I've felt recently that I've had some mental lapses. That isn't like me at all. What I'm in the process of doing to remedy the situation is to just go back to the basics. That means a lot of film study and knowing our playbook inside and out.

There is such a difference between the college game and the pros. Coach Jauron has told us that for college players, football is a game. NFL players need to realize that this is a job and with any luck it will be your livelihood for some time to come.

In college, I went to practice, worked out, then forgot about football until practice the next day. The same thing was true on game day. In college, you go out and play the game, then party that night.

Here, I take my work home with me. I am spending a lot of time studying the defensive plan for the next game, reading up on our opponents, and trying to readjust my attitude.

And when your game day in the pros is over, you'd better be able to go home and analyze what you did wrong and know what you did right. That's the only way you can build on the good things during the upcoming week. I know that I can do this, but I had underestimated the effort that would be involved.

I'm not happy about making mistakes. I don't know if it's just a rookie thing or what. I'm trying to figure it out. I'm working with Coach Blache because I want to understand exactly what's going on at all times. The coaches have said that maybe I laxed off a little bit because I'm not starting. They have told me what I need to do to get better. I can't shut out football when I walk out the door here every night. It has to be a continual process that I am working on all day every day. My goal for this week is to refocus my energies and start making those plays.

Beth Gorr contributed to this story.

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