Dvoracek Trying to Take the Right Path

It takes a big man to own up to his mistakes. Dusty Dvoracek, the Bears' third-round draft choice, says he fits that description when it comes to his past drinking problems, and not because he's 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds.

Dvoracek was booted off Oklahoma's team after the first two games in 2004 following several alcohol-related incidents. He says he's finished with drinking, but he knows he's not finished answering questions about it.

"It takes a person with character and a person who's accountable to 'fess up to that and stand here and look you guys in the eye and take those questions," Dvoracek said at the Bears rookie mini-camp. "And I think I'm man enough to do that."

He was granted a medical redshirt year by the NCAA and then reinstated after participating in anger-management and alcohol-awareness programs.

The defensive tackle has one advantage over most of the Bears' rookies because he's already familiar with Ron Rivera's defense. Oklahoma played the same scheme, and Dvoracek has been watching film of the Bears' defense since last season. That gave him a chance to monitor the progress of his buddy Tommie Harris, who came into the Sooners' program the same year as Dvoracek.

"We get (tapes of) their games each week, because we run pretty much the same defense, so we learn off what they do," Dvoracek said. "We're almost identical, so our coaches would coach us up on what they did, show us what we should do and what not to do. I watched them every week. I got to see them on TV, and (thought), 'It would be awesome to play there.' It's exciting and I'm going to make the most of it."

Harris called Dvoracek the week before the draft to tell him the Bears might choose him, and now he's looking forward to playing alongside Harris again and learning the NFL ropes. In their last season together at Oklahoma in 2003, Dvoracek had seven sacks to Harris' five.

"Tommie's a great player," Dvoracek said. "Him being so good made it easier on me, and me being good made it easier on him, so we really complement each other well. I look for the same success here that we had at Oklahoma."

But there's still that friendly competition.

"I want to get to the quarterback more than Tommie does this year," Dvoracek said.

The long-haired Dvoracek has already made an impression on Coach Lovie Smith.

"As you can see, intensity is one of his strong suits. He has the hair going, the look about him," Smith said. "Hopefully he's as tough as he looks, and we think he will be."

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