Player's Corner: Brendon Ayanbadejo

As still a relatively recent acquisition by the Bears Brendon Ayanbadejo is adjusting to life back in Chicago. Although he was born here, he's spent a lot of time in warm weather climates and away from the harsh winters that Chicago is known for.

As a California guy, I'd say that the biggest surprise for me once I relocated to the Chicago area was deep-dish pizza. It's fantastic and so different from what we have on the West Coast. In California there's mostly a lot of sushi and other healthy food.

As far as I'm concerned, pizza can be a separate food group. It's got everything you need from dairy on through protein and vegetables. I'm happy to report that one of the leading local chains has a restaurant near my apartment. I'm there all the time. That's been my standby meal since I arrived in town.

I'm adjusting to Chicago and to the Bears quite well. It's a good team and one I feel is about ready to break out. Last weekend's game was pure joy. If the success can continue on a similar level from now on, this could be a great season.

Most of my time recently has been spent either at Halas Hall or in my apartment where I'm faced with a stack of boxes waiting to be unpacked. I was lucky in finding a place to live quickly and easily, through a friend. But now comes the hard part, making that apartment seem more like home.

I've been on the phone with my brother, Obafemi, quite a bit. He plays fullback and on special teams for the Arizona Cardinals. He's always telling me that only one of us is going to the Pro Bowl this year and that it won't be me. We'll see about that. It's early in the season and a lot can happen between now and January.

It's an interesting situation to have a sibling in the same sport at a professional level. There's a lot of competition going on, of course, but there's quite a bit that we can share as well.

I asked my mom who she'd be rooting for each week. She's pretty diplomatic, so she told me that she'd be cheering for whoever is playing at a particular moment. If both games are broadcast at the same time, she'll record them just to be sure she's seen both of us. Fair enough.

Practice has gone well this week. We go through the same overall routine no matter who we'll be going against. Then as the week progresses, special plays are added in. Each group perfects what they'll be doing, then it all comes together at the end. Spirits are high and everybody here is ready to go against the Bengals.

As a rule, I try to avoid media reports about past games or projecting an upcoming game. But sometimes you just can't avoid knowing what people are saying. I do think that the Bears are underrated. That could be good for us. It's an advantage if your team isn't picked to be one of the best in the NFL. That gives you something to shoot for. You want to prove those so-called experts wrong. Hopefully this weekend, we can change some minds.

I spend most of my free time studying film. Each of us receives several DVDs to work with. They contain hours of entire games, of individual players and of designated series. It requires concentration and dedication to do this well. You need to know what to look for, then you go over it repeatedly. You have to come into a game fully prepared.

I enjoyed the game in Soldier Field last weekend and am looking forward to another home game this weekend. The energy of the crowd there is amazing. It's noticeably different from what I felt in other stadiums and I think it has a positive impact on our play. You tend to give it all you've got when all the fans are right there with you.

I'm not sure if I'll like that venue quite as much by the time the cold winds of December roll around, but right now, it's the perfect place for football. I am a Chicago native so maybe I'll find that I enjoy ice and snow. For now, though, I'm comfortable and I'm really enjoying this entire experience.

Ayanbadejo has agreed to share his observations of life in the National Football League with Bear Report readers. Brendon will be checking in via the website on a weekly basis.

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