Bennett Rookie Diary: 2nd Entry

With the news Wednesday that Mark Bradley had his knee scoped and is questionable for the start of training camp, Earl Bennett will get a few more reps during OTAs at Halas Hall. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about getting to know Chicago and how he's grown since minicamp.

It's great to be back here and finally relaxing a little bit. It was pretty intimidating to come in that first weekend to Halas Hall. That's quite a transition and a lot of changes all at once. But now the draft is behind me, and I can relax and concentrate on what I need to do to get ready for training camp.

Football is football, and although the terminology is different at the Bears from what we had at Vanderbilt, it's just a matter of studying to get this down. My roommate and I are staying up late every night just working on memorizing the playbook. You can't get far in the pros until you know what you are doing.

On the field, things are coming along well. Again, the fact that I have begun to relax has made a real difference in my playing abilities. I can slow down mentally and listen to the coaches rather than trying to absorb everything all at once. I know that with time, I'll know what I need to know.

We are all staying at a local hotel during the OTAs. Once those are done, I'm heading back home and getting my stuff together so I can move to Chicago before training camp. Before I was drafted and came in for rookie weekend, I'd never seen this city. It's great. I really enjoy being here, and I'm looking forward to learning about what it has to offer.

So far, we've been lucky on weather. It's been cool and good for football. I've heard that not only does it get really hot and humid during training camp, but that winters can be pretty brutal. But I won't worry about that until the time comes.

They told us this morning that Mark Bradley had surgery. I certainly wish him well, as all the players on the team do. I don't see his injury as having much of an impact on my prospects for making the team, though. There are quite a few here who play the wide receiver position. What happens with my success in getting a roster spot is entirely up to me.


WR Earl Bennett
Warren Wimmer Photography

As a rookie, you don't have the time or the energy to plan out the entire season in advance. You really don't have the time to wonder if you will be a starter, a backup or whatever. Right now, I am focused on learning what I need to know about the Bears system so I can secure a roster spot – just making the team. That's all I want. If I can do that, I'll be real happy.

Practice right now is very intense. I'm concentrating on learning the routes and on working with the different quarterbacks here. They have me catching from just about everybody so far, which is fine with me. We had several quarterbacks at Vanderbilt, so I'm used to making the necessary adjustments. I was somewhat successful this morning, which is a real improvement over the drops I had that first weekend.

I have a simple goal now that I am here with this team: My job is just to help us get to the Super Bowl. That's my overall focus. Any way I can contribute to that effort is fine with me. And I also want to show the coaches that the decision to draft me was a good one. I want to demonstrate that I can play at this level.

The transition from college to the pros won't be easy, but I feel I am up to the challenge. I'm here to learn and improve. It's all pretty new right now. But as I relax and learn more, it should become more comfortable.

If you were at practice Wednesday, you'd notice that I am leaving the field long after the veterans have gone to lunch. That's true for all of the rookies. First we get in a few more reps, and then our job is to carry equipment for the older guys. We don't break until that is done. I'm not assigned to any particular player, but I have to assist anybody who asks me. That's part of rookie year in the NFL.

From now until training camp, I'll be focused and working hard trying to improve my skills and showing the coaches that I can contribute to the Bears system. This is fun. How could it not be fun? It's the chance of a lifetime to do something I love.

Earl Bennett writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for BearReport.com.


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