Opportunity knocks, again

David Terrell plans to do something this year that he hasn't done in his first three NFL seasons: take advantage of an opportunity.

With a fresh start under a new coaching staff, Terrell has the opportunity to shed the tags of "underachiever" and "first-round bust" that have accompanied his name.

"I'm still young and everybody here knows what my capabilities are and what I can do," said the Bears' first-round pick in 2001 (eighth overall). "It's like everybody's just waiting for it to happen, waiting for it to explode, and big. I'm waiting and I'm anxious just like them. The opportunity's here now; nothing (more) to be said. I'm going to take advantage of it and take the coaching, and I'm going to run with it."

Terrell almost sounds embarrassed that he's got just 86 career receptions for 903 yards, numbers that other high draft picks put up in one season.

"I was a top 10 pick, and I'm seeing guys like Chad Johnson in the Pro Bowl," Terrell said. "And I'm seeing everybody that I was drafted with excelling besides me. For whatever reason we have to put that aside. It's aside now and I just have to go out and have fun, and with coach Lovie believing in me, it's a great feeling."

Terrell is hopeful that he'll be used as a weapon down the field more than he was in John Shoop's offense, when he frequently caught the ball within a couple yards of the line of scrimmage. Offensive coordinator Terry Shea's scheme is more wideout-friendly.

"It's going to showcase me," Terrell said. "It's going to show what I can do. It's going to get me out there one-on-one with corners, it's going to have me playing receiver again, it's going to have me out there doing my job. It's not going to (be like) Michael Irvin in the slot trying to avoid linebackers that already know what you're going to be running. It's going to be me out there challenging them, and them challenging me, and me winning."

Terrell caught 43 passes last season but for just 361 yards, an 8.4-yard average, which was the worst in the NFL for any wide receiver with 40 or more receptions. The former Michigan all-American's attention to detail and sense of urgency in practice were issues in the past. The former coaching staff hinted that Terrell was not more involved because he didn't earn the privilege of getting the ball on Sunday with his performance during the week. But Terrell wants the new staff to see for themselves in game action.

"All they have to do is put the tape on," he said. "All they have to do is go in and look who's out there blocking, who's out there giving their best effort, who's out there trying to make extra yards, who's out there trying to leave it on the field. I just told them go look at the tape, tell me what you see, tell me which ways I need to work to fit into your offense and I'm going to do that.

"They came back and they told me what to do, and I'm going to do it, and I'm going to have fun doing it because I'm going to be involved, and that's all I want to do. Don't draft me eight and tell me I'm not going to be involved because you went 13-3 the previous year. I'm here to play."

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