Camp Chat: S Al Afalava

Sixth-round draft pick Al Afalava was supposed to have a difficult time making the 53-man roster, but now he's getting first-team action at safety. Is he a threat to challenge for playing time come Week 1? Here's what Afalava told Bear Report after practice Monday in this exclusive interview.

John Crist: I know they've got some great football fans back in Oregon, but did you ever imagine you'd get 27,000-plus people at a practice just like you had Saturday at Soldier Field?

Al Afalava: I know. I came out, I was like, Wow, this is like a college game. It was pretty shocking to me. It was a great experience, too.

JC: For the most part, the fans here in Bourbonnais only get to see you on the practice field. Give them a basic idea what your daily regimen is like in training camp before, during and after workouts?

AA: Wake up, go get a little breakfast. And come back, we've got meetings. And then after meetings, we have a little break before practice. It's a time to get probably a little nap, some rest. And then we have practice. Then we have a break again. Then we've got lunch. We eat lunch, take a break, take a nap, talk to my family on the phone and back to meetings. And then we've got a snack.

JC: When you're lining up at strong safety with the first team, have you given any thought to the fact that a Bears legend like Mike Brown was playing your position for the better part of the last decade?


Afalava has been getting reps with the No. 1 D.
Warren Wimmer Photography

AA: Oh yeah, I'm just shocked they've thrown me with the ones because some of the guys have been taking a break. They've just been taking it easy. It's just a wonderful opportunity. I've just got to go out there and execute. I'm still shocked. I've just got to relax, just take all that nervousness out of me and play.

JC: Just in terms of the play-to-play responsibilities, what are the general differences in this defense between strong safety and free safety?

AA: Not really a difference. Both of them play in the box. It depends on what the call is. Free, you're just out there in the middle of the field. You're the type of guy that likes to ballhawk, get the ball and stuff. And then strong safety, you basically play in the box and stuff like that.

JC: At this point of training camp, are you having more difficulty adjusting to the physical or the mental part of the NFL game?

AA: Mental adjustment. It's just getting lined up. [When] they switch the formation, everything changes. It's not like college when you play that call. Just getting that part down and my reads on the snap of the ball, all that stuff.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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