As luck would have it, one of the assistant coaches on the football team I coach has a Chicago Bear for a neighbor. And as you can decipher from the title, it's Bears special teams standout and defensive back Corey Graham.
I think the Bears were fortunate that free agency was as rushed as it was, and they were able to retain Graham. His stellar special teams play would be tough to replace. Corey was nice enough to take some time from his busy training camp schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Windy City Gridiron - I think most Bears fans were pleasantly surprised the Bears re-signed you. How was that mad dash of free agency for you personally, did you have a gut feeling either way about staying in Chicago?
Corey Graham - Free agency was crazy this year, it seemed as if everything was happening so fast and last minute. There were several teams that were interested in me and as I previously said I weighed my options. But due to how late it became, I felt Chicago was the best situation for me due to the circumstances.
WCG - You're one of the best in the league on special teams, but have the coaches told you if you're going to have a shot at some defensive snaps in 2011?
CG - No, no coach said I would get a chance on defense this year so I just have to play my best, but assume that I will be doing strictly special teams this year.
WCG - In your opinion, have any of the young undrafted free agent receivers in camp done anything to stand out so far?
CG - Sure, I believe that Onrea Jones and the young WR from Ohio State (Dane Sanzenbacher) has done well so far in training camp.
WCG - In the Chicago Bears terminology is the base defense called the Cover 2, the Tampa 2, or something else? And how often are the corners asked to press and play physical with receivers?
CG - It originated in Tampa but we like to call it the Bear Defense and we always want to be physical.
WCG - When you were a young player with the Bears did any veterans help you along?
CG - When I was a rookie safety Brandon McGowan helped me with things.
WCG - Our readers would be ticked if I didn't ask your take on Olin Kreutz signing with the Saints for reportedly less than the Bears offered... Your thoughts?
CG - To me it's a weird situation because I know how much he loved it here and how much he was loved here. He was the leader of this team so, it's hard to not imagine him here. If he took less money to leave and go somewhere else, I really find that hard to believe. You can't believe everything you hear. (This Q&A took place just hours after news broke about Kreutz signing in N.O.)
Thanks to Corey Graham for giving WCG this exclusive Q&A.