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Rookie Diaries

RookieDiary1.2


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

Bears second-round pick Tyrique Stevenson—a defensive back from Miami—and fourth-round pick Tyler Scott—a receiver from Cincinnati—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.

Tyrique Stevenson

Week 1

When I came to Halas Hall Saturday for rookie report day, everything hit me at once. I was happy, excited, calm and nervous, but I channeled those feelings into one simple emotion: mellow.

Before heading to the facility, we had to check in at the hotel where we'll be staying for the next month. It's the same place we stayed during rookie minicamp and OTAs, so coming back to a familiar spot and being so close to the facility just brought back that work mentality I felt in June.

After settling into the hotel, we all headed to Halas Hall. Riding the bus there then getting out and taking the arrival photos made it so much clearer that it's time to go to work and earn my spot. This is an experience I've been dreaming about my whole life, something I've been working toward for my whole life, so I'm still kind of shocked that I'm here. But now that it's official, it's really time to go.

Once we all got into the facility we had check ins with the training room, equipment staff, video staff then rested for a bit before our conditioning test. We had a couple runs and everybody finished well. I think I finished great, and my body felt great.

I was really happy to see all the rookies excited to be back and be around each other and the coaches again. I was honestly impressed with how everyone came back. Even the coaches said they missed us, and they were kind of bored at home waiting for camp to start. I told them the same thing because I'm not used to sitting around. I'm used to always putting in the work to try and reach my goals.

I've always been a big goal-setter and I'm continuing that during camp. I have a couple different journals where I either write down my day-to-day thoughts, motivational quotes for myself or goals that I want to see myself achieve and that I know I can achieve. I also write those goals on my mirror in dry erase marker to constantly remind myself of them, so I try not to fog up the bathroom as much as possible.

For my first training camp, my goals are: Be the best version of Tyrique Stevenson. Get 1% better every day. Dive into the playbook. Know what everybody around you is doing so you can play faster. And to be honest, just do what I can to make the team.

When it was just the rookies here, meetings would end around 3 p.m., then I'd head back to the hotel around 4:30 p.m. I usually spend some extra time here to just chill in the locker room and stare at my locker in awe like it's still the first day. I always catch myself reminiscing on that.

Going all the way back to rookie minicamp and OTAs, every time I pick up my helmet before going out to practice I feel those wow moments.

Even now at camp, it's the same feeling. I still have all of my helmets ranging from little league to high school to Georgia to Miami. Seeing how those helmets and the logos on them have changed is still shocking. So every time I grab my Chicago Bears helmet, I spend 30 or 40 seconds staring at it, just feeling happy and grateful to own it.

With full team practice just starting to pick up, I'm excited to just be out there with the rookies and vets to start building our chemistry. We all have a goal and a purpose and want to work together as one to show the world we've got the best secondary in the league.

Tyler Scott

Week 1

While training camp just started this week, I got back to Chicago and settled into my new place a couple weeks back to try and refamiliarize myself with the area and the facility. I had been coming back and forth to Halas Hall in the days leading up to report day so I could start my routine again.

Being consistent with a routine is something I picked up in college at Cincinnati. My head coach, Luke Fickell, really helped me with that because he was big on having a regimen, whether it's what you eat, how you practice or your study habits. He just preached a good, regimented routine and I've carried that here. It's put me a step above just being able to have that mindset of keeping up with things like a smart diet and sleep routine early on as a rookie.

What I eat is an extremely important piece to my routine. I'm a big oatmeal guy so I have it for breakfast every morning. I always start with raw oatmeal then add brown sugar and fruits because it's always good to have some sugar before you go out and run. A new piece to my routine since starting training camp is drinking a french vanilla iced latte with a hint of cinnamon and ginger. I know the ginger seems odd, but I like the feeling. It kind of wakes me up, and it's good for the immune system.

I've also been focused on eating with more vegan preferences. Last summer, before my junior year of college, I went full vegan for five months and loved it. The biggest difference it made was in my recovery. Being a guy who has to run a lot, recovery is key and I found myself rarely feeling sore. I sometimes had to defend going plant-based, but having that extra edge of always feeling good was worth it. Heading into camp, I want to gain that advantage back so I'm trying to inch back toward those preferences.

Reporting for camp Saturday was definitely an exciting moment, but you also just don't know what to expect. Everything is hitting you all at once so you're feeling nervous for sure. But for me, it was important to come already locked in on football mode so nothing would surprise me.

While so many unknowns can happen during training camp, I'm just trying to put my best foot forward. That's really what I want to hang my hat on—do my best in everything I do, be where I'm supposed to be—then see how things play out.

Through the first few days of camp, I've been trying not to let my emotions get too high. It is such an honor to be walking in these halls and be part of a historic franchise with the most Hall of Famers, but I don't want that to overwhelm me. I want to stay level-minded and present. So I've been trying to dumb it down for myself and remind myself I'm just playing football. I was just doing this last year at Cincinnati. I'm doing a lot of the same things like studying plays, running routes, catching passes.

Some of my most emotional moments have come off the field with the fans. Whether it's people reaching out for interviews or kids saying they bought my jersey or asking me to sign stuff, I've been starting to understand the impact I have on different people. I remember being in those shoes as a kid and how I felt looking at an NFL player. Now being in that position where kids are looking at me in that same way, that's where the emotions have hit the most.

Aside from figuring out my place in the offense and building on-field chemistry with my teammates during camp, I'm most excited about building that locker room connection. Any team I've been on that's had success, there's been personal connections and friendships. We could joke about things off the field, be cool with everyone and check in on each other. Those things are what truly help people settle in and be comfortable, so once it's time to be in football mode we can get on each other and not be offended because we know it's sincere.

I think that off-the-field chemistry is already starting to build here. At the NFL level you just have to earn different things. You have to take the time to find where you fit in and find the places you can be yourself. I'm excited to embrace all the ups and downs of camp with the guys in this locker room and just come out, play football and do what I love to do.

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