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Bears rookie Brisker sees self as old-school safety


Bears rookie second-round pick Jaquan Brisker considers himself a throwback from another era.

"I feel like I'm an old-school safety," Brisker said Friday before the first of three rookie minicamp practices at Halas Hall. "I love being physical, but at the same time, I can show my versatility in the back end. I can attack the ball, I can cover, and then obviously in the box. I love to hit. I love to tackle and take on blocks."

Some of the old-school safeties that Brisker has tried to emulate include Sean Taylor, Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu.

The Bears love the physicality and toughness that the 6-1, 200-pounder displayed the past three seasons at Penn State, where he appeared in 34 games with 21 starts and registered 152 tackles, 7.0 tackles-for-loss, five interceptions and 19 pass breakups.

Brisker also possesses excellent size, speed and ball skills. Last year he was named first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-America after producing 63 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, two picks and seven pass breakups.

"The hitting is there," said coach Matt Eberflus. "The old term that a lot of my mentors used to use is quickness, instincts and striking ability, and that's what he has. Those things still are true today as they were years ago. He has those attributes and we're excited where he is. What a positive energy guy, too. You can really feel the light coming out of him. It's really good."

As a rookie, Brisker knows that he'll have to begin his NFL career at the bottom of the Bears' depth chart. But the Pittsburgh native intends to learn his playbook and ultimately prove that he deserves a starting job.

"[I'm] just coming in and working very hard every day, working to be a starter," Brisker said. "I feel like me coming in with the new staff, a lot of new players, a lot of new people, it fits right, so it's a great opportunity."

Brisker anticipates that his transition into the NFL will be easier because he's taking the journey with another rookie second-round defensive back in Kyler Gordon. The cornerback from Washington was drafted by the Bears at No. 39, nine picks ahead of Brisker.

"It's been great," Brisker said. "Just talking to him, making sure that we've got the playbook down and things like that, but [also] making sure I have chemistry with my teammate; making sure we're both comfortable and that we can play fast out there on the field—and then also off the field that we have a good relationship."

Gordon and Brisker first got to know each other when they visited the Bears during the pre-draft process on the same day.

"We ended up talking there," Brisker said. "Having him [drafted by the Bears], it's been a lot easier, too, because I could communicate with him about the plays and then talk to him off the field also."

Gordon is just as excited about partnering with Brisker.

"As we build our relationship, I think it'll definitely benefit us," Gordon said. "We definitely talk about getting together and getting the playbook and pushing each other along and stuff. So, I think it'd be good for us to go back and forth with each other. I'm happy I've got him on my side."

Eberflus is convinced that Gordon and Brisker will help each other excel as Bears rookies.

"I do think there's an advantage to that, just because of the togetherness," Eberflus said. "They're starting at the floor and working their way up. Those guys will have that special bond with each other, and they're going to learn it as they go. They're certainly both smart guys. They're very intelligent and they're going to work together as they get through the defense. That's going to be exciting to watch with those two guys."