Bennett Rookie Diary: 9th Entry

Here we are just a few days before the start of the regular season, and the Chicago Bears still have no idea what to expect from their stable of receivers. What will Earl Bennett's role be? In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about finally having his name in the locker room at Halas Hall.

I may have had the jitters coming into minicamp and training camp, but that's all behind me now. What's done is done, and I can't do anything about it. For me, it's time to look into the future. I can't wait for the season to begin.

The mood in the locker room is that we're optimistic and ready to go. It's a very long time from the first day of workouts until the last day of training camp. Sometimes the days just seem to drag by. You can't imagine that it will ever be over and that the season will start at last.

For myself, as well I would think for all of the rookies on this team, being here right now is a dream come true. I started playing football at age eight. Every kid's dream is to play in the NFL. I know that's always been my personal goal. But when it actually happens, it's pretty much unbelievable.

I think it all hit home this week when I walked into the main locker room and saw my name on a plastic plaque over my locker. No more dressing in the basement in the rookie locker room. No more looking to find my name and seeing it written in marker on adhesive tape. This is pretty exciting.

We have prepared well to face the Colts. I think we all realize that there will be extra pressure with it being a home game for Indianapolis and also the first year in their new stadium. I am expecting a lot of noise, and I think the Colts will probably be pretty revved up.

The other factor is that it's a night game. Every player feels extra responsibility to perform well when the game is telecast in the evening. Why? Because you know your friends and family will be watching, as well as a lot of other players around the league. It's the only game on that night, and a lot of people will tune in.

WR Earl Bennett
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

I've been asked how I see myself contributing to the team. My answer would be that it's up to my coaches. I'm happy to go wherever they put me. Special teams play is fun, and I think I have something to offer there. Beyond that, it's hard to say right now.

Punt returns are always a challenge. I've spent quite a bit of time working on that. It's primarily a matter of timing and focus. Sometimes it seems as if that ball will hang up there forever, but you know you have to be underneath it when it finally comes down. And you never let yourself think about those big guys who are coming fast down the field right at you.

We view this first game as our initial step toward the Super Bowl. Everything we've done so far and everything we're going to do from now on is to help the team achieve that goal.

Personally, I'm going to be sure I know my routes, know my hots, and get my job done. This isn't the time to be nervous or worried about anything. I plan to go out there, work hard and have fun. As a guy who loves football, I can tell you for sure that it doesn't get any better than this.

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

Bear Report Top Stories