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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 through the preseason.

Tyler Scott

Week 4

Heading into my first NFL preseason game last week, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. In college, everything is extremely regimented, so every guy has the same routine. On gameday, you and your roommate would get woken up at 7 or 8 a.m. by the strength coach banging on your door, flashing the blinds open, throwing pillows at you and yelling for you to wake up.

Last Saturday, I had my own room, set my own alarm and woke up on my own time without any of the ruckus. I knew that breakfast started at 7:00 a.m. and the bus took off at 9:00 a.m. I was able to find my own routine, get in my own headspace and be on my own schedule. At the next level, everyone has the ability to do their thing. I really like that.

After practice Thursday or Friday, we had a team meeting and a position meeting where the veterans came together and told the young players their pregame routine. For me, that was super helpful. I was taking notes like crazy. The biggest thing I heard was there's a calmness you want to have; you shouldn't be stressed out because the work was done during the week.

[Darnell] Mooney used a word I really liked – he called the routine "being in his flow." Having the background in track, I understand the certain flow you get into because it's all mental, it's all about your headspace.

Arriving at Soldier Field, seeing all the cameras and watching the guys get off the bus all dressed up was cool. Player wise, I thought Justin Fields had the best fit. It was different, I liked it. But shoutout to my position coach, Tyke Tolbert, he had a nice fit on. I was impressed.

Chicago Bears take on the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, August 12, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois.

Seeing my name up there in the locker was definitely a special moment. Putting my jersey on to go play a game for the first time was wild. It was surreal to live the moments that I've always watched on TV, like running out for pregame warmups or being in the big stretch line.

Then you see all the fans around the tunnel. They're yelling for you to sign things, tossing down footballs and hanging hats down. I definitely did my share of autographs.

There's this one picture of me I saw where I was catching a football that a kid threw down and you can see me in the tunnel and see the field in the background. I looked at that and just said, "Wow." That was a special moment for me just to be in that atmosphere, be in that position to do something I always saw happen growing up.

Chicago Bears take on the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, August 12, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois.

As far as the game, the first thing on my mind is fumbling the ball in the second quarter. That was tough. I caught the ball and split two [defenders], had good ball security, but when I took my arm off to brace myself going to the ground, the defender hit me and got the ball perfectly. It's not what you want to see, giving up a takeaway, but it's something to learn from.

During camp you're not really tackling, not going to the ground, so it's not necessarily something you experience until it happens in a game situation. I also noticed defenders hit harder in the NFL and they're smart tacklers. They're not just tackling you, they're going for the ball. That was a "welcome to the NFL moment."

The positives of the game were, of course, winning. The defense did a good job holding Tennessee at the end with an interception, so that was really great. I also caught the kickoff and punt I was assigned to. That was one thing I wanted to focus on. I was able to get vertical on both and give the offense a chance.

Now, we're in the middle of our trip to Indianapolis. The whole experience has been fun so far. Again, everything is more individualized which I think is a positive thing. Everyone gets their own space to prepare. On the airplane, everyone gets room to watch film or listen to music. We had first-class service which I loved, so I appreciate the staff for that. We have the hotel rented out and I have my own room again. For me that's huge – having my own area when I travel.

Finally going against another opponent in practice is a big thing. Coach Eberflus made a comment to the rookies in the team meeting Wednesday. He said we got a nice taste of it in the preseason game Saturday, but this is the NFL, "so buckle up and get ready." Practice is definitely physical and can get chippy, but it's good preparation for games.

It's also been nice to see some guys from my past like Brian Mason, who was my special teams coach for a couple years at Cincinnati, and Alec Pierce, who played with me in college. It was really good to see some familiar faces and catch up with them.

I'd say the best part of this trip, though, is getting closer to my teammates. It's been fun. We're away from home so we're all we got. You can definitely feel that energy. I can feel that closeness building with the guys around me and I'm just enjoying it.

Tyrique Stevenson

Week 4

Playing against the Titans last Saturday felt different than any high school or college game I've been a part of. While it's the same game and the same amount of time, it just felt different to go out and play for an NFL team.

The moment leading up to kickoff, I was locked in. I was focused, just ready to play. The whole atmosphere was crazy. I try to stay away from focusing on the fact that I'm in the NFL, but that's really what the moment was. I know there's a lot more pressure and it's faster speed – there were just so many extra things that go into the game at this level.

I was so pumped up for the game, I couldn't even think about the fact that this was my first time competing against another team at Soldier Field. I was still upset that I only played a half. I wanted to play the whole game to be honest. I was that juiced up and just ready to make a name for myself.

Actually playing in a game on Saturday felt great. I got an opportunity to do what I love and I finally got the platform to showcase it. I wanted to go out there, be the best version of myself and make plays like I've done my whole football career.

Chicago Bears take on the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, August 12, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois.

Having some of those plays come early in the game felt good. My favorite was the tackle-for-loss I had in the second quarter. I was in press man coverage and a screen came. I kind of looked at the quarterback, saw it and he still just threw it out there.

The fact that I was able to beat the block and make the tackle-for-loss, it was a moment where I was like, "okay, I know I could play in this league."

Chicago Bears take on the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, August 12, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois.

Getting to do the joint practices in Indianapolis has been a fun time for the team, just seeing the guys happy to be around each other and that everyone was ready to practice. At the end of the day we're grown men, but to have this atmosphere, be around the team and have that brotherhood felt good.

The practices have been a bit different than I expected. There's more energy; there was more hype. It's been fun. It was a lot of fun to hit some other people. It's been intense in terms of the competition, but it was more fun because we made it fun. We brought our own energy because we were happy to be out there as a group.

I feel like I've been bringing the energy to practice because I'm just happy and blessed to play this game. I know that it can be taken away from me at any moment, so I want to be able to enjoy every second if it. I want to be me every second of it.

So whether it's a practice or a game or we're somewhere else, I'm gonna go out there and be the best version of me. That's bringing energy and hyping up the guys around me. I feel like I create enough of my own energy to distribute it out.

It was cool because I got to catch up with some guys I knew before the NFL. I saw Yo Murphy, who trained Tyler and I in Tampa when we were preparing for the NFL Combine. We caught up with another guy who trained at the same place, JuJu Brents, who plays for the Colts.

We were all just cracking jokes and Yo was telling us he was proud of us. We let him know we appreciate the opportunities to come to his facility and create a brotherhood between Tyler, JuJu and me.

This weekend we have our second preseason game, this time against the Colts. I'm just excited to go back out there and play. The game itself is going to be fast; it's going to be a great game, great energy.

Just the fact that I get another chance to step out there in the Chicago Bears uniform, it means so much more to me.

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