Willing to put everything on hold for football

There was a lot of pre draft buzz concerning Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel, and not all of it was positive. But this 2003 Fiesta Bowl MVP and leader of the National Champion Buckeye squad feels that being with the Bears could provide an overdue opportunity for vindication.

"I've heard some things over the past few months that have been kind of irritating," Krenzel said at Saturday's mini-camp. "Before the draft, this whole thing seemed to come out of nowhere. People were saying that I'd rather be in medical school than the NFL, that I have no ability to throw deep, that I'm inconsistent. It's hard to deal with things that are untrue, I can't wait to get out on the field and prove all of these so called experts wrong."

Krenzel was selected by the Bears in the fifth-round, the 148th pick overall.

"Am I happy to have been selected? Sure. That's every college player's dream. "Krenzel said. "But I think that my ability could have let me be chosen much higher. I was the seventh quarterback picked this year. That's fine, but I'd surely rather have been a number one or two. I ran a national championship offense at OSU in 2003. That should definitely count for something."

Krenzel is known as an intelligent, dedicated player that he sets quickly and deadly accuracy on the short pass. In his college career, he completed 329 of 579 passes for 4,493 yards and 28 TD, eighth on the school's all-career list. The rap is he tends to telegraph his moves and is somewhat spotty in his ability to hit a deep receiver.

"For me, the new Bears system should be ideal," Krenzel says. "I felt that I didn't have the opportunity at OSU to go to my strengths. Much of the game there was for short yardage. Terry Shea came up to me at the Combine and explained what the Bears were looking for and how I might fit in. I was impressed by what he told me and felt that this could be a tremendous chance to prove the critics wrong."

In Saturday's practice, Krenzel rotated in the lineup with Rex Grossman, Jonathan Quinn, and Zak Kustok and Ryan Dinwiddie. At this point, he feels his main job is to become familiar with members of the offense and to learn the sizable playbook.

"Can't do too much until you know the system," Krenzel said. "That's definitely number one on my list. The quicker I can pick things up, the better I'll be. If you don't know what you're doing there's no way you'll be comfortable. This offense is complex, but it makes sense."

Does he have any favorite receivers yet?

"No, it's way too early for that. I'm just learning guys names. The more reps we get though, the quicker that will come. I'm looking forward to being out there as much as I can."

Does being slated as backup to Grossman and Quinn cause any problems?

"You know, I respect both these players. Rex was an impact maker in college. Right now he's designated as number one and that's fine. I know Jonathan Quinn and I think he has tremendous ability. He's a very bright guy who will be fun to work with. I'm here to learn right now and to become accustomed to the NFL. But I am a competitor and I'll always be out there trying to get a start."

What about the possibility of Tim Couch or Kurt Warner coming in?

"You'll have to ask the coach. I can't even begin to worry about that right now. There are always rumors going around so you never are sure what's true and what's not. That's the kind of thing I'll deal with if and when it happens. Terry Shea recruited me very actively so I am assume that I am here for a reason."

What kind of changes does Krenzel expect now that he is in the NFL?

"Well, I'm a rookie now. That's quite different from being a senior quarterback at Ohio State. New players have to prove themselves before they get much respect. Although I came from a high-pressure college program, there are quite a few differences between that and being at the professional level. Competition is greater here and the players are extremely talented. The pace of the game is much faster."

Any regrets about choosing football over medical school?

"You know, I don't know how that all got started. Yes, my major was Molecular Genetics and my brother Brian is currently in medical school. And, yes, that's something that I'd like to pursue some day. But right now my real love is football. This chance is something I've waited for my entire life. I am completely dedicated to the sport. I want come in here and do well, then have a long and productive career as a professional athlete. Everything else can wait."

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