Not your average Joe

Like the majority of his teammates Joe Odom has been trying to shed pounds this off-season. One thing the second-year linebacker doesn't want to lose is his opportunity to break into the starting lineup.

While open competitions aren't settled until training, Odom has the inside track to be the Bears strong-side linebacker over Bryan Knight.

"He's one of the first guys that I talked to when I got here about losing weight and he's got good speed and good agility," said Lovie Smith of Odom. "He's done everything we've asked him to do and we think he's a pretty good fit for what we're looking for at linebacker, and Bryan Knight of course he's a good player too, they're competing but I would still have to say that Joe's probably in the lead position."

Odom got up to 248 pounds mostly due to a groin injury that forced him to finish he rookie campaign on Injured Reserve. He's already dropped 10 pounds and is well on his way to his target weight of 235 pounds.

"I still have a little bit to go, but I don't think it's going to be tough for me," Odom said. "What was tough is because I got hurt last season so for three months I couldn't do any cardio so that's why I put on some weight. I've played at the weight they want me at last year so it's not going to be difficult."

As a sixth-round draft choice of out of Purdue Odom had to fight just to make the Bears 53-man roster. However he exceeded expectations and went on to start three games last year.

With the draft a week away there is talk that the Bears could try to add depth at linebacker, which serves as additional motivation for Odom.

"When you go later you want to prove to everybody else that you should have been an earlier pick," Odom said. "Not just because of the money but just because you think you're that good of a player and you should have been picked earlier."

Day Two in the Books
The Bears wrapped up their second day of work without incident. Bobby Wade and Ian Scott sat out of practice because of minor injuries, while Todd Johnson sat out for a second straight day because illness. The Bears will conclude their second mini-camp with one practice on Sunday.

The highlight of the day came when Lance Briggs picked off Rex Grossman and returned the interception for a touchdown.

"If you noticed on Lance's interception, all the offensive guys went to strip the ball, so we're getting point across of what we want to do and the type of personality we want to have as a team," Smith said of trying to install an aggressive mindset on both sides of the ball.

Bobby Gray didn't do quite as well as he dropped a sure interception when Jonathan Quinn overthrew Ahmad Merritt.

Mike Gandy continues to work with the first string offensive line, while Ruben Brown is in the second group.


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