By Earl Bennett
My first year as a Chicago Bear was depressing. I would practice each week as if my time was coming, however I was not playing during the games. I would get to the field on Sundays and notice a sweat suit in my locker for not being a part of the 46 roster. No matter how well I performed in practice, it still did not warrant me the opportunity to play.
Having a lot of veterans on the roster was one of the issues. We had Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd, Rashied Davis, Devin Hester and Mark Bradley. Not only were most of these guys annoying and irritating, they were well-established veterans who the coaches knew very well. I had problems gaining favor due to their decorative careers. Well, most of them. Then, I received a call from Jay Cutler.
Jay was still part of the Denver Broncos organization. Mike Shanahan was the head coach and they had drafted Eddie Royal the same year I was drafted by the Bears. On the phone, Jay expressed to me how there was going to be a trade soon involving me and Brandon Marshall. He told me to keep things under wraps, but the trade would likely happen in the off-season. I was stoked to be honest. I hated the receivers in the room. A bunch of old guys who trash talked and critiqued everything you did was so annoying. Hearing those words come from Jay during a time of not playing was comforting.
The trade didn’t happen – the reverse happened, Jay came to Chicago. I ended up playing five more years in Chicago. Those times were the best for me as a football player and I would not trade playing at Soldier Field in front of incredible fans with a first-class organization for Mile High.