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Rookie Diaries

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Bears rookie diaries with Tyler Scott, Tyrique Stevenson
By Tyler Scott and Tyrique Stevenson, as told to Gabby Hajduk

Bears fourth-round pick Tyler Scott—a receiver from Cincinnati—and second-round pick Tyrique Stevenson—a defensive back from Miami—share their training camp experiences exclusively on ChicagoBears.com. This series will feature both players giving first-person accounts once a week throughout training camp.

Tyler Scott

Week 2

It's week two of training camp and we've ramped it up a bit. The pads have come out and it's my first time practicing with them on in a non-college setting. I didn't know what to expect. Would there be a warmup drill? In college, there was always a warmup drill. But I learned in the NFL, there is none of that; it's just regular practice with pads on. Except the aggression and the competition rises.

We're heading into the dog days of training camp. The camp legs are coming and it's a time where you can lose focus and get fatigued. As a rookie, I'm used to a two-week college camp. Here, it's close to a month long. I'm really trying to stay locked in mentally more than anything, trying not to overwhelm myself, take each day one at a time.

Each night when I get back to the hotel, I decompress by watching Pastor Keion Henderson's church sermons on YouTube, something I've done since high school. With all the stress and expectations I'm facing, it helps me draw myself back in and remember my why – why I do all of this, who I serve. Getting into my faith gives me appreciation and humbleness for the game.

One of my whys is just how much I've loved football since I was in pee wee, running around playing tag. I remember that feeling – the rush of just running away from everyone trying to catch you.

I've reminisced a lot on what football meant to me as a kid. After Tuesday's practice this week, I was catching punts and every time the ball went in the air, a line of kids behind me would yell "ohhhh," until I caught it. It was a continuous thing.

When I was done, I was on the field talking to my fiancée and I was one of the last guys left. I remember the kids started chanting "Tyler, Tyler." As I started to turn around and look at the crowd, they chanted louder.

It gave me goosebumps. I never pictured myself being in this situation. Just the fact the fans already have love for me, and I haven't played a down yet for the Chicago Bears is special.

I try to sign as much as I can after practices, especially for the kids, because I remember what it meant when I was young to have any interaction with an NFL player whether it was a handshake, high five or an autograph.

So far during camp, there's been a couple guys I've gotten closer with outside of the receiver room – Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith. Smitty and I go up against each other a lot in practice whether it's one-on-ones or team periods. We'll sit together at lunch, talk about practice and just chop it up.

Tyrique and I actually met in Tampa this winter when we were both training for the NFL Combine, so there was already a connection. Then we were drafted to the same team. It was nice to have a familiar face in the building.

The funny thing is Tyrique and I have two opposite views of life, but that's what connects us. Our thinking, at times, is so oppositional but we just love talking to each other and getting into each other's heads. I think that's kind of what drives us together. It makes practices fun because we can compete against each other and be ultra-aggressive while knowing it's not personal. We're just both trying to get better.

The team as a whole has grown closer already. My favorite part of camp has definitely been the rookie performances in front of the entire team meeting. I did mine Tuesday and sang Gold Digger by Kanye West. That morning I was so nervous when I woke up. It was the first thing on my mind. I was at practice singing the words in my head.

I didn't mess up, though, and I didn't get booed which was a huge win. Everyone I came across after, even some coaches, said I did a nice job.

That moment felt like my rite of passage with the entire team. To be able to do something like that in front of everyone – seeing the guys bobbing along, just vibing with you – it was a welcome to the Chicago Bears.

Tyrique Stevenson

Week 2

Everything is ramping up just like the coaches said it would. Not just the tempo of things, but the level of understanding they want you to have at practice and outside the building with things like taking care of your body, being in the playbook and coming back a bit more advanced than you were the day before.

Each day of camp has been a highlight for me because I get to show up here, see the NFL logo and say I'm practicing with the Chicago Bears. One of the moments that has stood out to me, though, was my interception during practice Monday. Last week, I dropped that same interception, so to come back and make that play the right way this time, I know I'm improving. I'm happy that I can see myself taking small steps.

Seeing improvement each day is something I think about every night. After I get back to the hotel and shower each night, I listen to 30 or 40 minutes of white noise and just think about myself, whether it's how my body is feeling, what I need to work on or things outside of football. Then, I grab my tablet and it's back into the playbook, back trying to get one percent better.

While there's difficult parts of camp, a lot of those things don't compare to some of the other adversity I've faced. I think about how I've always been the only male figure in my family. I've always been cautious of making the right decision and making sure I'm being the best leader of my family that I can be. That adversity is something I always keep on my shoulders.

I'm the oldest kid and with four sisters and my mom, I've had to always understand five different personalities and make sure they all understand I'm out here working for them and myself.

Tyrique Stevenson poses for a picture with his mom and four sisters following a University of Miami football game.
Tyrique Stevenson poses for a picture with his mom and four sisters following a University of Miami football game.

I have a twin sister, a sister born on my birthday three years later and another set of twin sisters. They mean the world to me. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I realized no one will take care of them like I will. No one is going to love them wholeheartedly more than me. I know they love me with all their heart, so pretty much everything I do is for them.

Tyrique Stevenson poses for a picture with his four sisters.
Tyrique Stevenson poses for a picture with his four sisters.

While I'm far from Miami, I have felt at home here during camp. I definitely feel a love from the fans during practices when they call out my name or when the kids get excited to see me. I can't even describe the feeling to be honest, because I never had that. I never had a support system like that from fans.

Sometimes I look back when they're chanting and just see that I'm sparking inspiration and hope into a kid who one day will say they want to be in the NFL. That's why I always make it a big deal when we sign autographs. I try and sign anything and everything because at the end of the day, I was that one kid with the same dream. It all just feels so unreal.

Another highlight of camp is having different team sessions where it's just about having fun and being amongst each other. Tuesday we did this activity where coach broke us into sections like guards with defensive tackles, offensive tackles with defensive ends or receivers with defensive backs.

In the groups, we got to learn about the opposite position, and it gave us a sense of understanding. We go against each other every day in practice, so let me understand why you're doing this and you can understand why I'm doing that. When we have a better understanding of how and why we need to push each other, we can become brothers and family because we're all chasing that one dream.

The rookie performances were also rejuvenating. I did mine first and I sang an A capella version of Bottom Boy Survivor by Rod Wave. Everybody said to me, 'You did decent. You did your thing. We respect it.' I didn't get any boos and no one made me go again.

I think I did a good job, but Tyler, he snapped, I can't lie. When he went up there, he had no hype, so we were kind of skeptical, but he sang lyric for lyric. He was confident out there. He's usually quiet and stays out the way, so for him to sing it with confidence, it was nice to see.

Tyler is someone I consider family now. We've been locked in since we were training together in the winter, but now watching him work hard and seeing us chase the same dream, the same goal, even though we have different personalities, made him feel like family.

While we've talked a lot off the field, we've been getting to work against each other during practice which is fun. When I see him go out there and make plays, I feel like a happy brother because I know he puts the work in. I know we have doubters and every day we're coming out here and shutting most of those doubters down.

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