First Impression

Eight-time Pro Bowl player G Ruben Brown was on the field for the first time during Friday's mini-camp in at Halas Hall. The NFL veteran seems to be making himself at home in the Windy City and is looking forward to the start of the season.

"You know, I haven't moved around at all during my career," said Ruben Brown, who had spent his entire nine-year career with Buffalo. "That's pretty unusual when you are in the NFL. Change can be good. It keeps you from getting too complacent in a routine. My first impression of Chicago? It's nice here. The weather certainly is a lot better."

Chicago balmier than Buffalo? Possibly, but Brown might change his mind on that last statement when he experiences icy winds howling off of Lake Michigan and into the depths of Soldier Field.

"That's ok, bring it on," Brown. "I'm just enjoying the 80 degrees today. I'll deal with the cold and the snow when they come. My boots and my overcoat are here so I'll be ready for all of that."

Brown was an integral part of the Bills offensive line and he plans on fulfilling the same role for the Bears.

"I'm not coming in here all full of myself saying ‘here I am and I'm ready to start. I understand that this is something that I need to earn," Brown said. "But I am very confident in my abilities. The OL in Buffalo was very strong. We knew how to protect our quarterback. Just meeting the guys here, I would say that in many ways it is a similar situation. You have experienced players in Chicago who have the skills and the desire to succeed. I see my self fitting into this system extremely well."

What about the Bears' newly expanded and revised playbook. Will Brown have problems learning the schemes after so many years under one system?

"We're all coming in here more or less on the same page," Brown said. "Terry Shea has taken some of the Kansas City schemes and has combined that with some of what the Bears have been doing already. What's going on here is pretty new to everybody involved. John Tait has somewhat of an advantage as he's worked with coach Shea before. But the rest of us? We are taking things as they come, learning the plays, then moving on. Football is football. It's not that difficult, just different."

What's his first impression of Lovie Smith?

"From what I have seen, the man is a leader. He has directness and a matter of fact attitude that appeals to me. I think that's probably true for all of the players here. There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. I've heard that the speed and the intensity of the workouts in the two mini-camps have exceeded what they were able to achieve here last year. For players to give that kind of an effort this early in the year usually means that you have the right head coach."

Bears veteran Center Olin Kreutz feels that the addition of Brown at guard and John Tait at right tackle should make the Bears more of an offensive threat this season.

"It's always to have two more big bodies up there," Kreutz said. "Particularly when they are two players with the skill and the experience that we need. I don't see the fact that they are new to the team as being any kind of a disadvantage. In a sense, this year we all are rookies just trying to fit in. Everybody is excited. We're on edge just wanting to prove ourselves. The energy level is incredible. Ruben and John are smart guys and hard workers who could end up in the Hall of Fame someday. They are a great addition to the OL."

Brown, who is married and has two young sons, is looking forward to settling into his new home as quickly as possible.

"It's hard to leave an area where you've lived and worked for a long time, but sometimes you can get stale if you just stay in one place for a long period of time," Brown said. "There are many advantages to being here in Chicago. I'm getting a fresh start and I have a very positive attitude about that."

Is he ready to deal with Bears fans?

"I've heard all about the enthusiasm of the fans. You do something right and they'll appreciate it. That's something I look forward to experiencing for myself that first time at Soldier Field. Being with the Bears is a great opportunity for me. Whether I end up on the first team or the second, I plan to add some strength and depth. I'm going to give this an all out effort and produce results."


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