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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 3

Starting this week at Soldier Field for Family Fest practice was unreal. Pulling into the stadium on the team shuttle, getting dressed and running out of the tunnel – it all gave me goosebumps.

The first "a-ha" moment was when I saw my name on the locker. Soldier Field is the oldest stadium in the NFL, and it has so much history. All I could think about was how many greats have been in that locker room and shared the same lockers as me. That touched me in a different way.

I remember this moment when I was eight years old of my dad sitting down at the kitchen counter, pulling up YouTube on the laptop and talking to me about his favorite NBA and NFL players. It started with basketball and Dr. J (Julius Erving), then it went to football. My dad pulled up Dick Butkus highlights and said "he was the meanest linebacker to ever live." Then it was Gale Sayers, Mike Singletary and Walter Payton.

I ended up falling in love with how these guys played and the old school style, particularly in the run game. Every person had their own style, their own way of greatness. Sayers was more of an elusive guy; he would run back and forth across the field. Earl Campbell was more of a downhill guy; he would just run right through you. And then Payton, Mr. Do It All.

My parents weren't able to make it to Family Fest Sunday, but I called them Monday and recapped my experience with them. They did make it to the family barbecue the Bears hosted at Halas Hall before training camp and my dad was like a kid in a candy shop. He walked through the halls, saw the different players, read about the history; he was in his own world. I've never seen him like that. It made my heart jump.

His dream growing up was to play in the NFL, but he never got the chance to do it. He's kind of living out that dream through me. It meant the world to see him so happy that day because he's been a huge part of how I made it here. Since I was little, all I've wanted to do is make my parents proud and prove the people around me right, rather than prove others wrong. I'd like to say they're proud of me.

Tyler Scott with his parents
Tyler Scott with his parents

The rest of Family Fest felt just as special with practice being out at Soldier Field. Seeing fans cheering in the stands was a "welcome to the big leagues" moment for me.

After practice, Tyrique and I shared a special moment together. We were paired together to sign autographs at the stadium. We walked over together, sat down, decompressed and then saw a line of fans coming to see us. We looked at each other and just said, "Wow, we're really in the league; we're actually doing this."

It was a moment him and I have dreamed of since we were little. The things we did growing up like waiting in the lines trying to get autographs, now we're the ones giving them out. It was an eye-opening and humbling experience.

I had a smile on my face the whole time and just felt so much joy doing it. I've realized as I've gotten deeper and deeper into this, things sometimes hit me differently than I thought they would.

We're back at Soldier Field this weekend for the first preseason game, and honestly, I've tried not to think about it because we still had practices and things to improve upon. I'm really trying to focus on stacking my days, so once the game does come, I'll be prepared. I'll know my assignments so I can ultimately make some plays Saturday.

On gamedays in general, I like to be calm. I don't like to be super hyped up and I think that comes from my track background when I had to really be in tune with myself. If you're antsy, you could pull a hamstring or jump the gun, so you have to stay even keeled. I've really carried that mentality onto the football field.

To think we're nearing actual games and wrapping up a third week of training camp is crazy. All I can say is time flies. I remember just sitting down at home, receiving a phone call from Chicago and hearing, "Hey, would you like to be a Bear?"

Now here I am about to hop on the field, be on TV and play on an NFL stage. It's just happening so fast, but I'm loving every step of it. I'm taking it all in with gratitude because I'm still in awe. Each day I wake up and think, 'man, I'm doing this. This is my job.'

Tyrique Stevenson

Week 3

I've been waiting 13 years to experience my first snap as an NFL player and it's finally happening on Saturday. Our first preseason game is this weekend, and I haven't even been feeling anxious. I've felt more excited and more ready than anything.

The last time I went home to Miami was when OTAs ended in June and I ran into some people from elementary and middle school one day. I asked if they remembered me and told them my name and they said, "Oh yeah, you're the football guy. You always said you were going to the NFL."

I told them I got drafted a couple months ago and they congratulated me, but I realized how long I've had this dream. And now it's here.

I got a taste of it Sunday when we practiced at Soldier Field and it was great. I told the other rookies and all the guys, "Just look at the NFL logo. Look at the fact we're in the Chicago Bears' stadium. Just look at everything." Being out on the field and hearing the fans cheer made everything so much better. I'm still so excited that we just took reps at an NFL stadium.

In June the rookies did a tour of Chicago and stopped at Soldier Field, but it was hard to imagine playing there. On Sunday, it felt completely different. It looked different, smelt different. Going back there and getting the actual football feel of it was amazing.

Chicago Bears rookies take a boat tour as well as visit Soldier Field for the first time, Friday, June 9, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois.

Bears rookies went on a tour of Chicago to check out some of the city's most notable landmarks, including Soldier Field, where they visited their home stadium, walked on the field and checked out the locker room for the first time.

Watching some of the guys go through their routines in the locker room and seeing everyone get locked in how they usually would for a game was lit. Everyone was ready to go out and compete. It felt good to be around guys who have done that before and know what to do.

One of the best parts was after practice when Tyler and I signed autographs. We sat down and we looked at each other. I said, "Hey bro, we play in the NFL." It was just crazy. We shared a real good moment right there. It was a small realization for both of us, like, we just practiced here.

I think it hit us when the fans came up and they couldn't talk, they couldn't speak. They were just handing us stuff and saying, "Oh my god." I said to Tyler, "Is this for real?" We both just said, "Wow. This is real nice. We're really here now." It was great to have that experience with him.

Three weeks into camp now and I've learned so much. So much of that information comes from coach (Jon) Hoke, our cornerbacks coach, because our relationship is great. I told him when I got here I want nothing but hard. Even if he nitpicks on something small, I'm gonna take it because at the end of the day, I know he wants me to get better and he has so much experience in teaching.

I told him sometimes I ain't gonna like it and sometimes I ain't gonna look like I like it. But I'm taking everything into account so I can go out on the field and play my best. I've had coaches challenge me before, but it's a little more intense now because I get paid to do what I do now. I just feel he really wants the best out of me and I'm going to give that.

I appreciate the fact that he just says what it is. He doesn't sugarcoat it or try and beat around the bush or hold my hand. He just spits it straight out like it should be and as a man, I should be able to take that and help myself.

Coach Hoke has taught me how every coverage has its negatives and positives. Understanding those can help you become a better player. He's also introduced me to (Charles) Peanut Tillman. We had a good conversation about ball and he showed us some techniques and gave advice about what we can do better. I'm just trying to be a sponge and take in as much as I can.

I feel like with coach pushing me, I'm on track to meeting the goals I set for myself at the beginning of camp. I still have them on my mirror and they're gonna be there until I hit them. I want to make sure I check everything off first before I move onto something new.

I've been making the goals a lifestyle. I'm changing my lifestyle to make my goals more reachable. I feel like I'm on the right course and the more I ask questions, the more I try to understand things, I'll be well on my way.

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