Q&A: Brooks Barnard

Bears punter Brooks Barnard had a successful NFL Europe campaign for the Rhein Fire, as he finished among the league leaders in average per attempt. Brooks spoke to Bear Report upon his return to Halas Hall.

Barnard finished the season with a total of 1,777 yards, an average of 37.8. His longest punt during the NFL Europe season was for 55 yards.

BR: Tell us a little about your experiences as a player in NFL Europe. Have you traveled abroad before?

"This was the first time I have gotten the opportunity to travel abroad and the experiences as a player have been extremely beneficial. I was able to play in games and get live reps whereas I would not have had game situations occur by practicing on my own. Surprising enough, I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of different situations in these games and learn the consequences of my reactions to them. Overall, it's been a positive learning experience that I can use when I get back to Chicago."

BR:How are your language skills?

"I have tried to learn the language here over the last three months, however, I have not been that successful. In English, we use a lot of slang in our speech whereas German people do not. So, forming sentences becomes very difficult. Also, the German's pronunciation is difficult as well."

Any culture shock?

"There has been a little culture shock here in Germany. It's almost like they are 20 years behind us in the USA as far as daily routines, architecture, and transportation are concerned. It seems Germans value natural beauty a lot more than Americans do. A lot of activities occur outside from picnics to drinking at pubs to walks along paths surrounded by gardens."

Do you have free time to do some traveling? If so,where have you been?

"Because of our practice schedule and lack of transportation, it was difficult to get to places throughout Europe. I had some time though to visit Cologne and that place was amazing. They have a cathdral that survived the World War II bombings that took the people over 500 years to construct. The architecture of this church and the shrines and statues both inside and outside were amazing to see. We got to venture out on away games in different cities and the history where world events occurred was awesome to see in person."

BR: Where do you stay while playing for the Rhein Fire?

"We stayed at the Relexa Hotel in Ratingen, which was 20 minutes from downtown Dusseldorf. All the entertainment was located in Dusseldorfv so if you wanted to do anything you would have to take a cab."

BR: Do you notice a difference in the enthusiasm of the fans? Are they knowledgeable about the game?

"There is quite the difference in enthusiasm with the fans in Germany. Germans are surprisingly knowledgeable of the game and can get very loud with their whistles. The whistles and other artificial noisemakers can get confusing with the referees so plays tend to continue longer than they should."

Has your training routine changed?

"My training routine has changed somewhat because our team has only one field to practice on. I cannot work on some areas that I would normally get to do with an entire field to myself. This experience has changed my routine slightly from what I am used to accomplishing when I practice."

Do you feel that these extra games have been beneficial for you personally?

"I feel these games have been beneficial to me because I have been able to work on certain phases of my game during live situations. I know what I can do and what I need to continue to work on to get better."

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