Player Perspective: Brendon Ayanbadejo

For Brendon Ayanbadejo, the bye week offered time to heal, relax, reflect and figure out a way to improve his game.

The first thing I heard this morning when I arrived in the locker room was how many guys watched my brother (Obafemi, Arizona Cardinals FB) playing on TV last night. I missed the game because I was flying home from Ft. Lauderdale and I haven't had a chance to call him yet. But from what I've heard so far, he was flying all over the field.

It's exciting that the NFL finally had a game in Mexico and with my relative on the winning side, that's even better. I also heard that the game set an attendance record. It's great that the NFL can show fans in other parts of the world just how the game is played. The more people that have a chance to watch the better.

It was good to get away from football for a little while although it was pretty early in the season to need much rest from the actual game play. If I had my choice, I'd have wised for a weekend off much later in the season, say late November or early December when it's really cold outside. I'm a tropical guy at heart and the chance to escape a little of the Chicago winter would have been pretty appealing to me.

It was funny that so many of the Bears were in Florida the same time that I was. It seemed like every place I went, there they were. We got together and went out, just like we'd do if we were in Chicago. Tommie Harris, Thomas Jones and I met up a few times. It was fun to hang out in a non-football related situation.

I think it's good to leave town even if it was for a short period of time. That refocuses your energy. Then when you come back, you're ready to go all over again.

One thing I took advantage of was the opportunity to rest my ankles. I sprained them during the preseason and it's clear that they're going to bother me for the rest of the year. Anytime I'm not playing or doing drills, I'm taking it easy.

But I wasn't just traveling around having fun. Bye week means a time to reflect on your individual performance. I checked my stats and watched my films. Could I improve somehow? That's what I worked on; I played the game in my mind.

I came away pretty satisfied with what I saw but I also realized there's always room for improvement. I could tell that my ankles were slowing me down. Physically, football can be so frustrating when you are not at 100%. The will is there but the execution can come up short.

A sprain is a difficult injury to recover from unless you are completely off of your feet for an extended period of time. I know that just isn't going to happen this early in our schedule. I have noticed that my ankles are slightly swollen and sore. It's not the kind of a thing that elevating them at night will fix. This is along term problem that I will address once the season is over. Can I still play? Of course. That's why I'm here. There's no way that problem will keep me out.

Look around sometime and you'll see more players than not who are limping. In professional football, just about everybody is going to come away with an ache or pain. It's something that you expect and learn to cope with. I'm tough and I can go out there and produce despite having this problem.

Next up on our schedule: Cleveland. So far, we've just been working on our usual drills and getting back to game speed.

I have my DVD of the Browns last few games so I'm going to be spending my free time at home going over that. That's how I learn the specific moves I need to be concentrating on for Sunday. I've heard they have some tough special teams guys. Dennis Northcut brought a return to the house last weekend, but it was called back because of penalty. That's a heads up for me right there.

It's funny how instinctual all of this has become. I've been playing since grade school so just put me on a football field, and I shift into an automatic mode. I know the drills, I understand the moves. I just need to make slight adjustments from week to week. That's why a day or two away from the game during the bye week has no effect at all.

Our division has become interesting to say the least. It almost seems that no team wants to be ahead of the pack. I'm hoping that this weekend we're going to come out there and show what we can do. There's no reason the Bears can't take his thing and run away with it. We've got the talent and mentality to succeed. We've gone out there once and dominated and I think we're all ready to show that performance wasn't a fluke.

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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