Chicago Bears

Layers of learning process begin for Bears' rookie Adam Shaheen

Layers of learning process begin for Bears' rookie Adam Shaheen

Bears second round rookie Adam Shaheen is big, has had big expectations placed on him with that draft status, and has learned the hard way how to be a big boy, facing up to mistakes.

The 6-foot-6, 277-pound tight end from Division II Ashland admits in the two weeks since becoming the 45th overall pick, he's had to pretty much keep his head from spinning off his neck. It came full circle when walking into Halas Hall Thursday to report to rookie minicamp.

"I'm nervous, obviously. It's to be expected," Shaheen said Saturday, not referring to the four- or five-person press conferences in college he became used to, rather the magnitude of the building, the franchise, the league. "I'm just real excited to be here and make the best of my opportunity."

The former basketball player has hung up those shoes after getting the itch to return to football taking in a Wisconsin-Ohio State football game in Columbus a few years back. But he's still a loyal NBA watcher, as he and roommate Mitch Trubisky did at their hotel to wind down from the first day of minicamp.

Sorry, guys. He's a Cavs fan.

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With the little time he's spent with Trubisky, he sees some of the same signs his bosses apparently saw:  "The demeanor in which he carries himself.  As well as back home he's in the books really trying to learn and develop himself as a starter."

And, oh, that nearby hotel they're staying in? There's a Chipotle right across the street about one light down. That restaurant was Shaheen's "go-to" place in packing on 90  pounds post-hoops, to get where he is today, with some discipline and workouts.

And he has a "go-to" meal there:

"I get a burrito with extra, extra white rice. And then double the chicken, which you've got to tell them because with one scoop of chicken they try to mix it in and you won't get as much. Then just a little corn."

Yes, he's gone there the first two nights in town. And it's a burrito. Not a burrito bowl. But as for the "extra, extra white rice..."

People who'd learned about Shaheen's Twitter history became aware of one, say, less-than-complimentary post several years ago about President Barack Obama. So when the Chipotle recipe was relayed as he spoke Saturday, snark responses followed.

"I know exactly what you're talking about," Shaheen said when broached on the subject. "I was a dumb teenager. If I had the maturity I do now, I would have discovered there could be some potential problems. I would have understood.

"One of my buddies went, 'Hey, man, this is blowing up. (I'm) gonna have to delete that.' Then I went through all of them. I was, like, 'Wow'...just completely...I was a high schooler."

Just another part of the professional playbook the 22-year-old is beginning to absorb.

Why the Bears ‘f***ing loved’ what Jordan Howard showed them on Sunday

Why the Bears ‘f***ing loved’ what Jordan Howard showed them on Sunday

After fighting off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense for Jordan Howard, the Bears’ offensive line still sounded as if they wanted to keep blocking for a running back who wowed them with his toughness in Sunday’s 23-17 overtime win. 

Howard, who NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, was clearly playing through pain against Pittsburgh. He was helped off the field multiple times by trainers and was trying to protect his banged-up shoulder on some of his runs in the second half. But he quickly returned to the game after those scares, which was not lost on the guys leading the way for him. 

“He’s tough,” right guard Kyle Long said, emphasizing the word tough. “And toughness is something that’s talked about in football a lot, but Jordan Howard’s tough. He really is.” 

“He’s a f***ing soldier, man,” right tackle Bobby Massie said. “He was a Pro Bowler for a reason.” 

“F***ing loved it,” left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “I loved it. It showed that he cared and wanted to be out there for us, and it made me go harder. I just told him that — it made me want to block for him extra hard. And when he does that and he shows that courageousness, man, comes out there and keeps battling back after we know he’s hurting, I’m going to give it everything I got for that guy.”

The Bears’ offensive line (and tight ends and wide receivers, it should be said) continually opened up lanes for Howard despite the Steelers knowing what was coming. Mike Glennon and the Bears’ passing attack didn’t stretch the field and only saw one wide receiver catch a pass (Deonte Thompson about halfway through the fourth quarter), but no matter how much the Steelers schemed to play the run, Howard kept hitting creases and getting into the second level, where he’s at his most effective. 

“He’s a tough son of a gun,” coach John Fox said. “The more you have of those, the better off you are and the better chances you have to win.”

Howard finished with 138 yards on 23 carries — an average of six yards per attempt — after only gaining 59 yards on 20 carries in his first two games of the season. His walk-off touchdown was a fitting end to This was a reminder, as Massie said, of why Howard was a Pro Bowler and the NFL’s second-leading rusher last year — even as he wasn't at 100 percent. 

“Sometimes I was hurt pretty bad,” Howard said. “I didn’t feel like I could finish. But Benny Cunningham, he kept pushing me through, and my coach, and I just saw my team – they kept fighting, so I had to keep playing.”

Under Center Podcast: Bears run strong in OT win against Steelers

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears run strong in OT win against Steelers

Alex Brown and Jim Miller join Laurence Holmes to break down how the Bears got themselves in the win column on Sunday against the Steelers.

Jordan Howard was the game’s MVP but how well can the Bears run the ball going forward if he is banged up and the Bears continue to struggle throwing the ball?

Plus, Marcus Cooper’s fumble on the goal line nearly cost the Bears the game. What do the guys think about the effort level after a gaffe like that – especially on a short week heading into Thursday night’s matchup against the rival Packers?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: