Player Diary: Darnell Sanders

Bourbonnais - At the relatively young age of 25, tight end Darnell Sanders has already played for three NFL teams, the Bears, the Browns, and the Falcons. Sanders signed with the Bears during the off-season, and is now hoping to make his mark in Chicago.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound graduate of Ohio State and native of Warrensville Heights, Ohio was a casual Bears fan growing up. Sanders is now looking forward to learning more about the team from the inside out and making enough of an impression on the coaches to become a permanent member of the roster. He tied for the team lead with four receptions in the second preseason game. Sanders offers his views of training camp thus far:

It's a real pleasure to be here with the Bears. It's not the easiest thing when you end up moving from team to team, but I enjoy this group of guys and hope that I'll be around for quite some time.

I think that I can make some definite contributions at my position. I'm big, I'm quick, and I have a good eye for the ball. I feel that I am a good fit for the new approach that the Bears offense is taking. I've been working hard to be the best I can be in my role. It has been a comfortable transition so far. The offensive scheme is similar enough to what I have worked with before to enable me to adjust with no particular problems.

When you're a new player, you want to establish yourself as a go to guy. That's accomplished by not making mistakes and by stepping up whenever you can. I'd say that is the emphasis of my practice and game efforts so far.

I think the fans enjoy these practices. They seem to like seeing the players close up in this family oriented setting. That's the plus of camp, there's the chance to meet the players one on one. And because night practices are held in the stadium, there's more of a game type atmosphere.

I am not certain yet what my role will be here in Chicago. In the past I have primarily been a blocking tight end and I saw quite a bit of time on special teams. With the running game being a primary part of the offense, I see my size as a definite advantage. I am larger than many of the tight ends in the league which is always a plus if you are in a blocking role.

What I have been working on here is keeping up my level of conditioning, watching my weight, and increasing my speed. It's pretty difficult to be much of a threat if you can't run, which is where the training program has really helped.

The playbook is detailed but not overwhelming. I played previously for Cleveland and Atlanta and the Bears' approach is not that different. I think that throughout the NFL there aren't that many surprises. There are a certain number of plays and you are going to see them over and over again no matter where you are.

The other guys on the team here have been extremely helpful. That makes a difference when you are one of the new players. And in turn, I pass on what I have learned to the rookies. We are all in this together. Sure there is strong competition for a roster spot and playing time, but there's no point in not helping a teammate.

I feel my confidence increasing on almost a daily basis. The tight end position is important to the success of any team. The Bears had a few problems there last season and I think that I can help improve things. I'm showing the coaches what I can do. If I hold on to the ball, make some plays, and throw some strong blocks, then I think things will turn out just fine.

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