Rookie Diary: Brandon McGowan

From the University of Maine to the NFL, safety Brandon McGowan is trying to turn a camp invite with the Bears into a career in the league.

McGowan anchored the secondary at Maine, recording 87 tackles as a senior before being sidelined with an injury. He had 84 tackles as a junior and 94 as a freshman. He was named to the New England Football Writers 1-AA All-Star Team and was named second team All Atlantic 10. The 6' 217-pounds McGowan was a business major in college. He is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey where he attended Lincoln High School and was captain of the football team.

McGowan tells of his experiences as a rookie in Chicago:

I love being here with the Bears. It's what I've always hoped for. Coming out of a smaller college you might think that my chances of reaching the NFL wouldn't have been that good, but there are quite a few Maine alums playing in the pros right now. There's a center in Baltimore, a linebacker with the Chargers and a running back with Green Bay. I always felt that if they made it, so could I.

Coming to the pros after college is a big change. Everything seems different at first, but I'm sure that I'll acclimate pretty soon. The veterans have been very helpful in answering questions. They're much more patient than I would have anticipated they would be. Most of the rookies tend to stick together as we are all in the same boat. Even though we are in competition with each other for roster spots, there's a definite bond that I'm sure will strengthen during training camp.

Since I got to town, I've been working on my strength and conditioning. My speed is good and I think that's probably one of the reasons the Bears wanted me. But there is always room for improvement so I'm listening to the coaches, working hard in the classroom, and trying to make an impact. There isn't any margin for error, so you want to show that you are good right away.

Coming in as an undrafted free agent is always more difficult than if you were picked on draft day. But I have something to prove-that I definitely belong here.

I've tried hard this spring getting my body into playing condition. I broke my ankle senior year in the middle of the season so that sidelined me. That was a hard time to go down, as that is the time the pro scouts are in town checking you out. I'm glad that the Bears scouts saw me while I was playing and had an idea of what I could do.

The Eastern schools are in several very tough leagues. It's high quality football throughout. Maine was competitive all four years I was there which I feel gave me good experience I can draw on now.

There is a lot of competition in the defensive backfield, but what are you going to do? The thing is to work hard, fit in and show the coaches why they definitely will want you on the roster. I feel that I can make an impact. I have good instincts for the game, I'm a hard worker, and I have a strong desire to succeed.

We're taking a little break and I'll go back home and pack my things up for training camp. It will be good to see my family again. We've kept in touch but it's nice to see them in person as well. I know that it's going to be very busy when training camp begins, so I'm going to rest up, keep up with my workouts, and get ready to make an impression.

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