Player Spotlight: Craig Krenzel

LAKE FOREST - Craig Krenzel never spent much time standing on the sidelines during his football career at Ohio State. As a rookie quarterback for the Bears, he's finding that being a spectator isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"This is a positive situation," Krenzel said. "Although it isn't as exciting when you are observing the action, it can be a learning experience."

On the field, Krenzel watches every move made by the offense, concentrating on the play of Rex Grossman and Jonathan Quinn. He also spends hours studying game films and working with quarterback coach Wade Wilson.

"Sometimes I take notes, other times I just keep it all in my head. If Rex or Jonathan does something particularly well, I want to remember that. The same goes for when either of them might make a mistake. Seeing how a play turns out without actually being involved in it is quite an adjustment for me, but I'm looking on this as a stepping stone to a long NFL career."

Krenzel does get on the field during practice and is particularly busy in the final days before a game.

"I run an offense that is similar what the opponent will be working with on Sunday. It's good practice for me and it helps our defense understand what they will be facing."

So far, Krenzel has found the adjustment to the NFL much easier than expected.

"I came from a large college program (Ohio State) where we won a national championship in 2002 I know all about pressure situations the need to perform consistently well on the field. The speed of the professional game isn't that different. I've been extremely lucky during my playing years in having top quality coaches at every level. For me, the NFL is just an extension of what I've been doing all along."

Although making it to the NFL wasn't a specific goal of Krenzel's during his early years in football, he views his success as a natural progression.

"I come from a sports oriented family. My brother played football at Duke. I started in grade school ball pretty early, at 7 or 8 years old, and just went from one level to the next. My parents were very supportive and enthusiastic so the game was always fun for me."

Krenzel's upbringing also emphasized the importance of academic success. At Ohio State, he earned national, conference and school academic honors. Good study habits paid off when the rookie first encountered the Bears playbook.

"It was huge, like the biggest college text I'd ever seen," Krenzel said. "And I knew that it was important to remember and understand everything that was inside. I approached the playbook as if it were required reading for an advanced course. It wasn't difficult material but there was a lot of it. I broke each section down then made notes. Then seeing how each play unfolded on the field was extremely helpful. It all came together into a logical whole."

One challenge that Krenzel has noticed during his tenure with the Bears is that of keeping his competitive edge.

"Being listed as third quarterback on the roster requires a definite mind set Krenzel said. "It's a situation where you need to be mentally sharp at all times and ready to step in whenever you might be needed. There's tremendous uncertainty because you never know whether or not you might play. The trick is to keep your confidence level high and not to become frustrated."

Krenzel recognizes that his current position is a rite of passage most of his colleagues have had to endure.

"I'm very patient and quite comfortable in my role. It's rare to join a team as a rookie quarterback and start right away. Most of us are here to learn and to improve. I want to absorb everything that I can. The more familiar I can become with the plays, the personnel and with the overall atmosphere of the NFL the better."

And what about Krenzel's long range plans?

"Right now, I'm living in the moment, not projecting out too far. I love playing football and I hope to be in this for many years to come. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and something I appreciate every day. My hope is to be a contributor to this team. I'm here to assist Rex and Jonathan while improving my own skills."

Away from the game
Sterling Heights, MI
First job: This is it. I was very lucky. My family saw how much I enjoyed playing sports so they allowed me to do that every summer while I was in school.
First football memory: I was 7 years old. My brother and I were huge Notre Dame fans. We watched them win the national championship.
First car: Chevy Lumina.
Favorite TV show: Seinfeld.
Favorite movie: I've been too busy to see many recently.
Role model while growing up: My parents.
Pet peeve: That would take the rest of the day. I have way too many to list.
Roommate on the road: It will be Daryl Jones. He's a good guy.
Favorite music: I love anything country.
College major: Molecular Biology.
Career after football: I'm considering medical school. But you are talking about an additional 8-9 years of school. If I have the kind of football career I want, that could make me pretty old by the time I'd get the M.D.
How do you like being with the Bears: It's great. This is a strong team and a fine organization. I enjoy being here in the Midwest close to home. The chance to continue with football at this level and in this place is a dream come true.
What's your advice for young players: Study? Be well rounded. Try to give your best at all times. Don't take anything for granted. Your teachers and your parents have your best interests at heart. Listen to them.

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