"I've followed Lance's career from the time he came to Chicago in 2003. It's great to see that he's found success so quickly. He has a high skill level which I hope to emulate. He'll never admit this, but I think I probably could have beaten him a few times when we were in college. But I know it's a whole other level now and that he's way ahead of me.
"Since I joined the Bears, Lance has been great as far as helping me pick up some of the things I need to know. A lot of the second-string guys like Rod Wilson have helped me, as well. Brendon Ayanbadejo has also been available whenever I've had questions. It's important as a new guy whenever the veterans give you some time. Because of that, my learning curve has been good, and it's been a smooth journey so far.
"I think that one of the hardest things about joining the NFL is that period of time before you know which team you'll be with. I was really happy to hear from the Bears. It's a great team with a strong tradition of success.
"Since I'm originally from Houston, I feel comfortable with a big city atmosphere. I feel that Chicago has a lot to offer. The people I've met so far have been very welcoming. I don't feel that the transition will be too difficult, or at least that's been the case so far.
"Training camp is intense, there's no doubt about that. I was comfortable in the heat as it was pretty much what it was like in Houston and Arizona during practice. Yes, there is rookie hazing. What you hear about that is absolutely true, but that's all part of the process. I had to sing the ASU fight song at dinner, and I've spent a lot of days taking Lance's equipment on and off the field for him. That's all part of the rookie experience.
"The adjustment for me in terms of football has gone well. I was part of an intense program at ASU, and the pros aren't all that different. At least not so far. I feel well-prepared for whatever might come the next few months. What I have noticed is a change in the sound level in pro stadiums. Even at practice in Soldier Field the other night, it was hard to hear much over the crowd. I'm sure that will only intensify as the season begins.
"You can tell that hometown fans really get into the game, and they are happy to see the players up close. I think that will be a positive factor whenever we are at Soldier Field. Of course, in other stadiums, the crowd won't be so supportive of us. I can get used to that, as well.
"The speed of the game seems pretty much like what we had in college. I haven't had any big surprises yet in that respect, but I am aware that this is a whole other level of athletic competition.
"One thing I learned on my first road trip to San Francisco last weekend is that there are a lot more mental aspects to keep track of when you are in the pros. It's easy to get distracted. I need to learn to concentrate on the play that is unfolding and not try to think ahead too far.
"Physically, I feel comfortable. My conditioning has been good, and I haven't had any problems to this point. I'm trying to break some bad habits in some of my moves on the field and smooth things out a bit. It's all in the little things. If you can perfect those, you're entire level of play will improve. That improvement comes from repetition, so it might take a while to see positive results. But I don't feel overwhelmed or uneasy with what I need to learn.
"I think the best place for me right now is special teams. It's a good, strong group, and we feed off of each other. Of course, every player wants to start, and that's my goal, as well. I do feel that I have the skills to succeed, and I look forward to showing the coaches what I can do in game situations.
"Camp has been a productive time, but I think we're all ready to head back to Chicago and begin the regular season. There's still a lot to accomplish before the games that count begin. This week's game should demonstrate just where we are right now. Then we'll make our adjustments and go from there.
"My personal goal is to contribute now in a positive way and get better each week. I want to eliminate my mistakes and concentrate on productive play. I'll check in next week and let you know how it goes."
Jamar Williams writes his Rookie Diary every Wedesday on BearReport.com.