Instant Gratification for Berrian

Lake Forest - Along with the news that six Bears had been chosen for the Pro Bowl, Bernard Berrian also picked up the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor. Now he's hoping to get more involved in the offense.

Against the Atlanta Falcons, Berrian returned a punt for 24 yards, setting up a 29-yard Robbie Gould field goal to put the Bears ahead for good. He also had two receptions for 20 yards and 31 yards rushing on two carries.

Although his right hand has not completely recovered from thumb surgery that forced him to miss four games, Berrian can see a daily improvement of the hand and anticipates being at 100 percent by the end of the regular season.

"It's been more than a little frustrating just being patient until I am completely healed," Berrian said in the locker room before Wednesday's practice. "I'm not the kind of a guy who is satisfied being on the sidelines."

Oddly enough, Berrian has gauged the rate of his recovery by the dexterity he can muster in his kitchen at home.

"A few weeks ago, twist top jars were out of the question for me," Berrian said. "But recently, I've found that I can get a grip on the top of the jar and generate a little movement in the lid. I understand that not many people would find that progress exciting, but to me, it was a huge step forward."

Berrian seems as much at home fielding punts as he does playing wide receiver. And with the marked lack of success for the Bears in finding someone that simply catch the ball Berrian is stepping in at just the right time.

"I feel comfortable doing whatever the coaches ask me to do," Berrian said. "I'll field punts, I'll catch passes. Anytime I am out there I want to be making a positive contribution."

Berrian returning two punts for 30 yards, including a 24-yard burst that helped give the Bears the lead for good against Atlanta. He also caught two balls for 20 yards and had 31 yards rushing on two carries.

Although Berrian wouldn't be drawn into any conversation concerning the recent quarterback controversy, he did seem pleased at Rex Grossman's return.

"Rex and I have good communication. We spent a lot of time during camp this summer working on our routes," Berrian said. "That's not to say anything bad about Kyle, though. I was very impressed the way that he stepped in and got the job done. But I view this as re-establishing a combination that worked well last summer, it's a matter of picking up where Rex and I left off."

Grossman added, "I've been practicing for three or four weeks now so just getting the rhythm back with the receivers is extremely important, but knowing them from training camp and mini-camps helps."

When asked if he ever doubted Grossman's ability to return to the lineup before the end of the season, Berrian was quick to offer his opinion.

"I can't even begin to imagine what he went through with two injuries in two years," Berrian said. "But I've watched him work to get back. I felt sure he'd make it before the season was done. Right now, it seems that his timing couldn't be better. He'll take us through the end of the season and right into the playoffs. I'm definitely looking forward to that."

Berrian is optimistic about the upcoming game in Green Bay but cautions against overconfidence against a team that is coming off the worst loss in the history of Monday Night Football.

"Green Bay might have something to prove this weekend," Berrian said. "So we want to be well prepared for anything. But I think we are playing well and can get it done. What a great Christmas present that would be. Two in a row over the Packers. That would be the highlight of a great season."

It would also clinch the NFC North crown.


Bear Report Top Stories