Player Spotlight: Cameron Worrell

LAKE FOREST - Cameron Worrell always expected to be a successful professional football player. It just took him a while to convince everybody else.

Although starring as a first-team All-WAC safety for Fresno State and racking up 106 tackles and 5 interceptions senior year, Worrell escaped the notice of most NFL teams during the 2003 draft.

Worrell got his chance with the Bears after coming to Halas Hall that year on a tryout basis. He made enough of an impression to be invited to training camp. When Todd Johnson suffered a broken jaw in the preseason opener it left a roster spot for the undrafted free agent.

As a rookie he played in 14 games, with most of his action coming in special teams.

The Bears thought enough of Worrell that they carried five safties on the 53-man roster.

"I wasn't at all surprised that I made the team this year," Worrell said. "It's what I've been working for all of my life. At this position, you need to believe that you can get the job done. That's always been my view of football, and it's worked well for me this far"

Worrell is currently slated behind Mike Brown and Johnson at free safety, but isn't satisfied with just dressing on Sunday's.

"There are two types of player in this league," Worrell said. "One type consists of those who are happy to be on the team and who look at this as if it were an ordinary job. They come to practice, are seen in games, and do exactly what they need to do while expending the minimum of effort. It's a just a way to get a paycheck.

"The fact that football is a job seems almost beside the point. For me, it's a passion. I've always considered myself to be a player who is never completely satisfied with his performance. I am constantly trying to improve. Can I be faster? Can I hit harder? Could my training routine be better? There's usually some aspect of my game that seems to need work."

Although Worrell is known for bone jarring tackles, he knows there is more involved to be an every down performer.

"I'd like to be able to fit in almost anywhere," Worrell said. "I spend a lot of time in the weight room, but there are many who can lift more than I can. I work on my speed and agility, but I realize there are those here who are quicker than I am. I think it all comes down to desire. When I am on the field, nobody wants it more than I do. That immediately raises my level of play."

Worrell has found consistent success with his unique approach to the game.

"It's all in my concentration. I block everything but the play out of my mind. That allows me to function on an instinctual level. I tend to hit hard. If I can knock a receiver's helmet off, so much the better."

For longtime Bears fans, Worrell might seem to be cast in the mold of Tom Waddle who never hesitated to sacrifice his body for the big play.

"I'm glad to hear that," Worrell said. "My hope is that fans will start talking about me in that same way. I want to be known as someone who never holds anything in reserve during a game."

At 5-foot-11, 199 pounds Worrell is average in size for his position and not particularly intimidating face to face. He finds that opponents tend to underestimate him, an error in judgment that most soon regret.

"That's exactly what the way I want to be perceived. It allows me to play somewhat below the radar," Worrell said. "I'm out there and the receiver will head right at me thinking he can get by. That's when I pop him. The look of surprise when the hit is made is well worth the effort it takes to bring him down."

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