It's fitting that LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson entered the NFL on Mother's Day Weekend.
Shortly after being drafted by the Bears in the second round Friday night (51st overall), the 6-3, 315-pounder told reporters that he opted to skip his senior season and turn pro to help support his mother, Brenda, who is unable to work after injuring her back.
"It was a tough decision, playing with my teammates and having the bond I had with the players on the team," Ferguson said. "But at the end of the day my mom got hurt on the job and she wasn't able to work and I knew that my family needed me. So the decision I made was a family decision."
See select photos of DT Ego Ferguson, the Bears' second-round pick (51 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Ferguson said his mom was injured working at a juvenile detention center when she fell awkwardly on her back while trying to break up a fight. He reports that her condition has improved and stresses that she never pressured him to declare for the draft.
"She never once pushed me to make this decision," Ferguson said. "She's a very strong woman. She's been raising me and my brother by herself. It was a decision that I made because I knew the kind of situation she was in. She would never let me see her worried or the struggles she went through. But I just want to take care of my momma."
After spending his first two seasons at LSU backing up Eagles' 2013 third-round pick Bennie Logan, Ferguson started the first 12 games last year, compiling 58 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack. Although he started for only season, he feels prepared to enter the NFL.
"In the conference we play in, you go against the best every week," Ferguson said. "I feel like as the season went along and we got deep into SEC play, my game started getting more developed. I just made the decision that was best for my family. I feel like I always have room to develop, but I feel like I will come in and contribute.
"I feel I have a lot of upside. I feel like a lot of people didn't realize how athletic I was and my ability to move around a lot better than people thought. I just feel like I've got a perfect opportunity with a perfect team and I just want to make the best of it."
During a pre-draft visit to Halas Hall, Ferguson enjoyed meeting with defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni, a long-time college and NFL coach who's in his first season with the Bears.
"He has a great personality," Ferguson said. "He brought me to the office and we were basically just talking ball for a long time."
Ferguson has vowed to give Pasqualoni his all as he prepares to begin his NFL career.
"I think you've always got to work," Ferguson said. "I need to work on pass rush and staying low. I'm the type to do whatever it takes to win and however long it takes. I'm not going to stop trying."
Ferguson is also determined to prove his doubters wrong. Asked what he would like to say to Mel Kiper after the ESPN analyst called the Bears' selection of him a "major reach," Ferguson said: "That's all motivation. You just tell him to watch out for me. That's all I can say."