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Darnell Wright receives special message from Bears GM

Bears rookie offensive lineman Darnell Wright
Bears rookie offensive lineman Darnell Wright

After an impressive performance in Tuesday's conditioning test, Bears rookie right tackle Darnell Wright received a congratulatory text from general manager Ryan Poles.

The 10th overall pick in this year's draft told reporters Friday that the text included a GIF featuring Canadian rapper, singer and songwriter Drake clapping his hands.

Poles also praised Wright while meeting with the media Tuesday at Halas Hall. 

"I do want to give that kid credit," Poles said. "This offseason he busted his butt. He lost weight. He lost body weight. He actually crushed the conditioning test, like didn't break a sweat. So he's focused. He cares. He wants to be really good."

One reason Wright crushed the conditioning test is that the Tennessee product mistakenly was preparing for the exam administered to receivers, which involves a longer distance and a faster time than what's required of offensive linemen. 

"I was looking at the wide receivers' running portion of the workout, so I was doing theirs," Wright said. "And then I came back and obviously we have different stuff." 

As part of his strenuous offseason training regimen, Wright dropped 16 pounds. He also changed his diet, hiring a personal chef. 

"It definitely feels better," he said. "It's a little bit of an adjustment in terms of translating power still. So I feel like I'm more powerful because I didn't lose any muscle mass. You definitely feel a step quicker."

Having participated exclusively in non-contact practices since being drafted, Wright is eager to see how he stacks up against NFL defensive linemen next week when the Bears begin working out in pads. 

"One of the adjustments, just like a physical adjustment, would be they can kind of grab more maybe," he said. "It's not a huge adjustment, but you don't go really full speed without pads; you don't want to get hurt and stuff. I'd say the adjustment comes with the adjustment to the tempo because you go faster when you put on pads."

The Bears were back on the fields at Halas Hall Friday for the second public practice of Enjoy Illinois Training Camp.

Wright revealed that the biggest challenge he's faced in making the transition from college to the NFL is "starting from ground zero just trying to build a foundation. Some stuff that works in college doesn't work anymore. Some stuff does. But just starting from scratch.

"I'd say one big thing is just being disciplined with your hand placement," Wright added, "and being disciplined, like for example, when you punch you don't always want to wrap your hand outside because these guys are smarter players. They understand what you're doing, what you're giving them." 

Wright anticipates that his comfort level will continue to grow as he gains more experience. 

"It's been good," he said. "Early on when I first got through OTAs, it was definitely a big jump that I needed to make. Through the offseason I just trained, and I think during training camp I'll make another jump, then preseason. It just builds on top of it."

To assist with the assimilation process, Wright has leaned on his fellow linemates. 

"It helps a lot," he said. "All those guys. Coming in as a rookie, you try so hard to not mess up. You want to not be the typical 'stupid rookie.' They bring me along. I can always count on them to get me right, tell me what to do, stuff like that." 

Wright regularly picks the brain of left tackle Braxton Jones, who started all 17 games last season as a rookie. 

"I've been talking to him a lot," Wright said. "I've been in his ear probably more than he wants. He was a rookie last year. [I'm] trying to learn from him and how he did it. He's definitely been a big mentor for me just to bring me along, show me some things, a lot of mistakes he made."

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