Halas Hall was teeming with activity Thursday as 70 NFL hopefuls from across the country arrived throughout the day for the start of Bears rookie minicamp.
The group included seven draft picks, 15 undrafted free agents and five first-year Bears players as well as 35 unsigned rookies and eight unsigned veterans who will participate in the minicamp on a tryout basis, hoping to earn a contract.
"It's amazing, just getting in, finally getting here and seeing all the guys," said first-round pick Roquan Smith, a linebacker from Georgia. "I'm excited to get to work with a lot of the other guys that are here. I'm excited to learn things and just get going."
After arriving at Halas Hall, the prospects filled out paperwork, got fitted for equipment, received iPads loaded with video and their playbooks and took medical exams.
They gathered in the facility's cafeteria for a dinner that included lobster tail and spent an hour listening intently while being addressed by seven former Bears players. Alex Brown, Jay Hilgenberg, Steve McMichael, Marcus Robinson, Charles Tillman, Bob Wetoska and James "Big Cat" Williams all discussed what it meant to play for the organization and the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity.
The rookie minicamp will consist of practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The players will be shuttled from a hotel to Halas Hall at 6:45 a.m. and make the return trip at 6 p.m. In between they will practice and attend meetings. The workouts are open to the media, but not the public.
Rookies from the Bears 2018 draft class arrive at Halas Hall to be fitted for their gear and sign contracts before this weekend's rookie minicamp.
"This weekend it's just work; give it all you've got each and every play," said second-round pick Anthony Miller, a receiver from Memphis "Even though I was a second-round pick, I'm going to work like I was undrafted, like I was a free agent. You're going to get the same thing out of me that you got when I was in Memphis."
Here are the players who are slated to participate in the rookie minicamp:
Draft picks (7): Smith, Miller, second-round offensive lineman James Daniels, fourth-round inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, fifth-round defensive end Bilal Nichols, sixth-round outside linebacker Kylie Fitts and seventh-round receiver Javon Wims.
Undrafted free agents (15): Hawaii offensive lineman Dejon Allen, Bucknell defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, Indiana defensive back Rashard Fant, Kentucky receiver Garrett Johnson, Dubuque cornerback Michael Joseph, Notre Dame linebacker Nyles Morgan, Oregon State running back Ryan Nall, Shepherd linebacker Elijah Norris, TCU safety Nick Orr, West Georgia receiver Shaq Roland, Old Dominion defensive end Bunni Rotimi, LSU cornerback Kevin Toliver II, Notre Dame linebacker Andrew Trumbelli, Maryland defensive lineman Cavon Walker and Pittsburgh punter Ryan Winslow.
Bears first-year pros (5): Defensive back Jonathon Mincy; offensive linemen Travis Averill, Brandon Greene and Will Pericak; and tight end Colin Thompson.
Unsigned veterans (8): Quarterbacks Trevor Knight and Aaron Murray; cornerback Antwon Blake; tackles Donald Hawkins and Matt McCants; offensive lineman Francis Kallon; receiver Gio Pascascio and defensive lineman Kendall Reyes.
Unsigned rookies (35): Quarterback Bryan Schor; running backs Kobe McCrary and Nick Wilson; fullback Melvin Vaughn; receivers Ashton Grant, Matt Fleming, Matt Vandeberg, Jumill Hornsby, Khris Gardin and Brandon Shed; offensive linemen Jake Krause, Jeremi Hall, Julian Bertero and Lavonte Hights; tight ends George Frazier, Jonathan Wolf, Regis Cibasu and Gelen Robinson; defensive lineman Corey Thomas; , linebackers T.J. McCollum, Garrett Hudson, Ro'Derrick Hoskins, James Crawford, Caylon Weathers and Sione Teuhema; defensive backs Terrell Bonds, Delondo Boyd, Tyrin Holloway, Tafon Mainsah, Josh Woods., Jaleel Wadood, Maurice McKnight and John Franklin III; kicker Austin MacGinnis; and long-snapper James Fisher.