Frederick, who played offensive tackle for the Bears from 1983-85, savored the opportunity to swap stories with his old friends at the Bears Fan Convention.
"Here I am in a room standing next to Henry Waechter and Keith Ortego. I haven't had the chance to do that for a long time. I just love hanging out with these guys. We're enjoying this chance to catch up with each other's lives since leaving Halas Hall. There's a lot of good news going around here. I'm so glad that many of my teammates have led happy and fulfilling lives."
Frederick's career ended when he suffered a toe dislocation and fracture that altered his speed and range of movement enough to be a noticeable hindrance on the football field. Although reluctant to leave professional athletics behind, Fredrick quickly formulated an effective backup plan.
"My first instinct was to grab one of the many business opportunities that were being offered to just about every member of the 1985 championship team. We'd made quite a splash in the city of Chicago and a lot of people wanted to be associated with us. I ended up trying to sell stocks for Merrill Lynch. Frankly, it was clear almost immediately that I wasn't cut out for that kind of work. It was much more difficult to make those sales that I'd ever imagined so I didn't last there very long."
Frederick's next venture was a foray into working for a manufacturing company that was involved with heavy equipment. While the job was interesting, it didn't provide the level of professional satisfaction he was looking for.
"The best part of that for me was in being around all that machinery. It was great. That's when I began to think about taking my career in another direction. I'd graduated from New Mexico with a degree in liberal Arts. It was a fine school and I still had friends in that part of the country. Why not go back there and get a degree in Civil Engineering? That way, I could work with the equipment but be on the designing end rather than on he manufacturing end of things. Finally I'd found something that I was good at in a profession I could see myself sticking with for a long time to come."
Now far removed from Chicago and the world of professional sports, Frederick doesn't get the opportunity to see many members of the ‘85 team on a regular basis. But he still enjoys keeping in touch by phone and is looking forward to seeing his old friends at upcoming charity events.
"We still have so much in common. Having been through the Super Bowl experience together, I'd have been surprised if that wasn't the case. Most of us have turned into avid golfers so it's always fun to get out on the links and tell some tales."
Frederick has seen numerous changes in t he game of football since he first suited up, but what strikes him as the most marked difference is the increase in players' salaries.
"Whenever I read about this in the paper, I am completely dumbfounded," Frederick said. "Of course times are different now, but I am amazed at what even a relatively inexperienced player can bring in. The entire marketing aspect of the game has altered things profoundly. We certainly got a lot of attention and endorsements during the Super Bowl year, but nothing like what the players have available to them right now."
When he played for the Bears, Frederick was praised for his intelligence, competitiveness, size and speed, all factors that new head coach Lovie Smith stresses for his ‘05 squad.
"I think that Lovie and I would have gotten along quite well," Frederick said. "I've always believed in fitness and nutrition. That seems to be what they've been working on at Halas Hall recently. It should start paying big dividends of the team as a whole."
When he's watching Bears games via cable television, Frederick finds that he can emphasize quite easily with the Chicago players.
"I watched so many of them go down with injuries last year. Having been in that situation myself, I certainly can understand what they must be going through. You work so hard to get in great shape. All you want to do is to make an impact for the team then something happens to prevent that from happening. It's difficult to recover, mentally as well as physically."
In retrospect, Frederick has few regrets over the early end of his career.
"I looked down at my hand and there's that Super Bowl ring. How good is that? It brings back all of the wonderful memories of the games, the fans, the team. It was an exciting time in Chicago. It's something that I'll always appreciate and never forget."