John Crist: You've talked a lot this weekend about your knee injury and coming back from it. At this point, is getting back to where you used to be more of a physical thing or a mental thing?
Corey Wootton: It's still physical. It's in the past. I don't think about it. It's not an issue to me. It's just that last bit of strength. Everything structurally is fine. It's that last bit of strength.
JC: Do you remember much about the play itself when you got hurt in the Alamo Bowl? Some guys remember every last detail of something like that, while other guys block it out of their memories completely.
CW: I don't really remember much. I try not to think about it. It's just something that's in my past and I've moved on from and I overcame it, so I'm just looking forward to moving on and doing everything I can to help this team.
JC: I talked to your defensive line coach at Northwestern, Marty Long, and he told me there were times last season that you were out there on the field even though you probably shouldn't have been. Was there ever a time when you were out there knowing in the back of your mind you couldn't make a play, just trying to occupy a few blockers or maybe give an emotional lift to the defense?
CW: Definitely. I just knew I had to do everything I can to help my team. I just wanted to be out there, going through the grind with my teammates. I didn't want to miss the season. I know I could have sat out the season, rehabbed and gotten back to 100 percent no problem and gotten ready for the combine and all that. But I didn't want to be a selfish player. These are guys that I've gone through the battles with, and I didn't want to let them down. I knew they needed me, and even though I wasn't the same physically, I still commanded the same double teams and helped my teammates out. So it was great being out there.
JC: You're going to have the ability to learn from a guy like Julius Peppers as a rookie. Do you think you're going to seek out some advice from him, or would you rather him come to you?
CW: I'm just going to try to do whatever. I haven't met him yet, but I'm sure he's the type that would probably help people. He's one of the best in the league, and I just want to try to learn everything I can from him. Coach [Rod] Marinelli is one of the best in the league for defensive line coaches, so I've got two great people. Everybody in the position group, Tommie Harris, there's so many great people on the D-line. There's so much I could learn in that room, so I'm excited to be working with them, hopefully.
JC: I know you're a Jersey guy, but this is your second tour of duty in Chicago. Is it starting to feel like home around here?
CW: Yeah, I mean, I've been here for five years, so it kind of became my second home. It was good. Everything worked out for me. I ended up in Chicago, the same city that I played in. My fiancée is here, my college teammates, college coaches, so it's good to be back.
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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
Minicamp Q&A: DE Corey Wootton
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