Ready for next challenge

For Aaron Boone, winning a World Bowl Championship ring is about as good as it gets.

"Our team, the Berlin Thunder, beat the Frankfort Galaxy 30-24," Aaron Boone said. "It was a close game with the teams tied at halftime. We thought that it would be an easy contest as we had beaten Frankfort earlier in the season without any trouble. Luckily, the Thunder pulled things together during the second half. I had a few tackles on special teams, some good catches and got an onside kick during the final minutes."

At the game's conclusion, Boone felt as if he were on the field at the Super Bowl.

"It was so crazy out there," he said. "Just total chaos. Fans were shouting. Photographers were everywhere. All of the players were jumping up and down, running all over the place. I held the trophy up over my head and just enjoyed the moment. I tried to find my mom in the stands because I knew she'd be really excited. It made things so special to have her there watching in person."

For Boone, the chance to win the World Bowl was one of the reasons he had been enthusiastic about participating in NFL Europe.

"I knew that Berlin had won before, and I saw no reason the team couldn't do it again," Boone said. "How many times does a professional player get an opportunity like that? Not many. I haven't been on a championship team since my senior year in high school I didn't want to come home without that ring."

The Bears signed Boone as a free agent in December of 2003 after sitting out the season following his release by the Dallas Cowboys. He was placed on the reserves/futures list then allocated to the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe for the 2004 season.

An all-star athlete in football, baseball, and basketball in his hometown of Fillmore, Utah, Boone quarterbacked his team to the Class AA state championship. He was an all-American at Snow Junior College in Ephriam, Utah and played his final two seasons (2001-2002) at Kentucky. He has traveled extensively in China and Peru and speaks fluent Chinese and Spanish.

"I love to travel and meet people all over the world," Boone said. "That's what I think I might be interested in doing after football is over. I'd enjoy running some sort of global based business venture, perhaps in international importing."

For Boone, a member of the Mormon Church, extended adventures began when he was on a two-year mission to Peru shortly after high school. He also spent six weeks in China, while at Snow Junior college and has traveled abroad with his parents.

"I interacted with so many types of people," Boone said. "It was fascinating. I probably learned as much or more from them as they did from me. These were wonderful experiences filled with some hard, rewarding work. These trips really put everything into perspective and gave me a much broader world view."

Boone is back in the United States eager to discover where his football career might lead.

"It's hard coming back and getting right down to work again since the season in Europe just ended," Boone said. "The guys here are ahead of the NFL Europe players because they have been working with the new system since March. I know that we can catch up, but it will take a concerted effort. There's also the challenge of pacing ourselves. We need to rest up a bit, but at the same time, we need to show the Bears coaches here at Halas Hall that we can produce."

Boone, who averaged 17.0 yards on his 13 catches including four touchdowns, will have his work cut out for him with third-round pick Bernard Berrian, Bobby Wade, Justin Gage and Ahmad Merritt also competing for playing time behind projected starters Marty Booker and David Terrell.

But Boone has always relished challenges and is ready for the next chapter.

"I'm not afraid to put in the time or the effort to succeed," Boone said. "In that sense, being in NFL Europe was exactly what I needed. The coaching was excellent and the experience was a good one. Any chance to play at a professional level adds to a player's knowledge and skills. I feel that there is a place for me somewhere on the Bears team. I have a lot to contribute and am eager for the chance to prove what I can do."

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