‘I’m about to do that’: For Micah Dew-Treadway and a handful of different hometown youngsters, the possibility to play for the Chicago Bears can be monumental


There can be a second Saturday morning, shortly after the Chicago Bears arrive at Soldier Field however nicely earlier than kickoff, when Micah Dew-Treadway will make his option to the sector for a second of gratitude and reflection. He plans to take a couple of deep breaths and an extended look across the stadium to understand the climb that has put him on this stage. He’s within the NFL as an undrafted rookie combating for a roster spot on the group he grew up rooting for.

“I’ll take a few pictures, take some videos, soak that up pretty good,” Dew-Treadway mentioned. “I’ll look up to my parents. But not too much. My mom’s going to be pretty emotional. And I’ll take that time to take it all in.”

And then? Well, then Dew-Treadway will flip a swap, understanding his four-month audition to change into a long-term contributor to the Bears is about to accentuate. His NFL preseason debut will come in opposition to the Kansas City Chiefs. And the 25-year-old defensive sort out plans to make use of no matter enjoying time he will get Saturday to show to Bears coaches and front-office expertise evaluators that he can be detailed, dependable and constant, a 308-pound windup toy of effort.

This is just his subsequent second.

“Let it rip,” he mentioned. “Just let it rip.”

A number of that is nonetheless so surreal, this chance for Dew-Treadway to stay out a childhood fantasy. He grew up in Bolingbrook, grew to become a star in highschool, then dedicated to Notre Dame. He nonetheless has household all through the world — in Bolingbrook, Evanston and on town’s West and South sides. And he ceaselessly thinks again to the methods the Bears ignited his soccer ardour, watching Lovie Smith’s aggressive and opportunistic defenses tear opponents up when he was little.

In his early days at Notre Dame, Dew-Treadway mentioned he proudly wore his No. 54 Bears jersey ceaselessly. Or possibly extra precisely, he wore it out.

“I rocked the Urlacher all the time,” he mentioned.

So think about the profound appreciation Dew-Treadway has had over the past three-plus months throughout defensive conferences at Halas Hall when, within the course of of putting in a brand new system, coach Matt Eberflus and coordinator Alan Williams have rolled by clips of these outdated Bears defenses and people video games Dew-Treadway watched enthusiastically as a child.

Back then, it was pure leisure. “Watching Briggs and Urlacher run around was just different,” Dew-Treadway mentioned. “It just was. Those were my two dudes. And I didn’t even really understand what was going on.”

Now, he zeros in on the outdated clips as classroom training, utilizing a extra subtle lens to observe the in-the-trenches contributors do their half.

“Here’s ‘Spice’ Adams with an inside move to get a (tackle for loss),” Dew-Treadway mentioned. “Or right here’s Israel Idonije coming off the sting with energy to muddle the pocket. And right here’s Urlacher coming off the sting, chasing the QB all the best way round. Now it’s a strip fumble. Here comes Briggs. Now they’ve received the ball they usually’re taking off.

“It’s like. ‘Wow! This is crazy! This is ridiculous!’ And now I really get what’s going on and what’s making it all happen.”

Dew-Treadway additionally will get his likelihood to affix that fraternity.

“Yeah, man,” he mentioned. “This is fun.”

‘Something I’ll always remember’

Dew-Treadway gained’t be alone Saturday in feeling the push of being a hometown child enjoying a recreation at Soldier Field as a Chicago Bear. There’s eighth-year veteran James O’Shaughnessy, who performed his highschool ball at Naperville North and in faculty at Illinois State. After earlier stints with the Chiefs, New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars, O’Shaughnessy signed a one-year contract with the Bears in April.

Rookie offensive lineman Doug Kramer, a product of Hinsdale Central High School and the University of Illinois, was drafted within the seventh spherical in April. By his beloved Bears. “Dream come true for sure,” he mentioned on draft weekend. “This means the world to me and my family.”

Don’t neglect about Michael Schofield both. Even with seven seasons and 102 video games of NFL expertise beneath his belt, Schofield stays ecstatic to take this personally gratifying step in his soccer journey.

Of all his workdays since 2014, none pushed him by a nostalgic waterfall like July 26, when he turned proper onto Football Drive in Lake Forest and rolled by the entrance gates as a brand new worker of his hometown group. “That was something special I’ll never forget,” Schofield mentioned. “Pretty cool pulling up to Halas Hall for the first time as a Bear.”

Another first awaits him Saturday — in that landmark stadium simply east of DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Preseason or not, Schofield is aware of the day will really feel particular.

“It’ll be my first time putting on a Bear jersey,” he mentioned.

Game jersey, that’s.

Schofield grew up in Orland Park, went to Sandburg High School and dreamed of turning into a Bears receiver. The first jersey he owned was a Marty Booker — No. 86.

“I used to be able to catch,” Schofield mentioned, “and then I put on a lot of weight. So that changed. Not many people grow up wanting to be linemen. They all want to start off scoring touchdowns.”

At this stage, enjoying proper guard for the Bears should suffice.

Plus, the scale and power of Schofield’s game-day cheering part guarantees to be bigger in 2022 than ever earlier than.

“My family’s big tailgaters,” Schofield mentioned. “They’ll do that right for sure.”

‘Allow yourself that moment’

Rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn, from Deer Park and Lake Zurich High School, additionally will soak in Saturday’s expertise.

The first Bears recreation Sanborn paid consideration to was Super Bowl XLI. He was 6 then, a first-grader simply beginning to perceive the soccer group in navy and orange woke up one thing in these near him.

“It was a bigger day,” Sanborn mentioned. “You could tell. I could feel it from my whole family. That was really my first moment of watching NFL football.”

Sanborn is readying for his first second of enjoying NFL soccer, which is able to immediate a couple of deeper ideas Saturday when he walks onto the Soldier Field grass pregame.

“You have to reflect,” Sanborn mentioned, “even if it’s just for a second. Be where your feet are and allow yourself that moment.”

With that achievement, nevertheless, Sanborn gained’t lose sight of the stakes. He’s combating for a job, grinding to earn the belief of the brand new teaching workers. That’s why Sanborn believes he’ll really feel way more urgency than nostalgia for the remainder of this month.

“Everything matters. Everything you do,” he mentioned. “It’s not only what you do on the field but inside the building and away from the building. A lot goes into this. So far, it’s been enjoyable for me. It’s been fun. But eyes are on you. So you have to perform.”

Once the proud proprietor of Urlacher and Devin Hester jerseys, Sanborn will don No. 57 on recreation day together with his surname sewn on the again between the sleeves with the GSH brand. In the stadium the place he watched the Bears down the Detroit Lions 19-14 in 2010 due to Calvin Johnson’s incapability to finish the method of a 25-yard landing catch, Sanborn can be in assault mode in opposition to the Chiefs.

“The moment won’t be too big for me,” he mentioned. “I’ll be calm and cool headed and ready. … Sure there’s pressure. At the same time, I’m part of the Chicago Bears right now. This is something I’ve always dreamed of. So you better enjoy the moment.”

‘I miss this feeling. Chicago. My city.’

Dew-Treadway is in an analogous mindset, past grateful for the place his lengthy and winding path to the NFL finally led him. Due to redshirt seasons, accidents and an NCAA-gifted additional yr of eligibility in 2021 due to COVID-19, Dew-Treadway’s faculty profession spanned seven years: 4 at Notre Dame, three at Minnesota.

In April, Dew-Treadway hoped to be drafted and have the primary stage of his professional soccer trek mapped out for him. Then seven rounds and 262 picks handed with out his identify being known as, and he wanted one thing — something — to alleviate that sting.

It got here within the type of a name and a contract supply from the Bears.

Dew-Treadway nonetheless remembers the message from Bears defensive position coach Travis Smith. “He reminded me that I should be pissed off that things didn’t go the way I maybe projected them to go,” Dew-Treadway mentioned. “That reminder gave me that chippy mood and the push to get better and do things people thought I couldn’t do. … But then he was also straightforward, just like ‘Look, you’ve now got the best opportunity you’ve ever had in your life. And you get to do this at home.’ In that moment, I immediately shifted my mind. Just like, ‘I’m about to do this.’ ”

Consider that Dew-Treadway’s first skilled “Bear Down” second.

Perhaps it’s sacrilege for Dew-Treadway to say this. But he does anyway. He attended the Bears’ January 2019 playoff recreation in opposition to the Philadelphia Eagles — the 16-15 loss most of Chicago remembers with excessive nausea as “The Double Doink” recreation — and considers it “the greatest football game I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Wait, Micah … what?!?!

“You’ve got to understand,” he mentioned. “I was watching from the 50-yard-line. And I’m a defensive lineman. I’m watching the line play the entire game. Fletcher Cox on the bull rush. Akiem Hicks wrecking things. Khalil (Mack) coming off the edge. That game was crazy for me.”

End outcome be darned.

To be honest, Dew-Treadway will always remember the nonstop buzz that radiated for hours earlier than Cody Parkey lined up for his game-deciding 43-yard field-goal strive.

“Electric,” he mentioned. “You felt it the whole time. I was back from college for that game. And I was like, ‘Man, I miss this feeling. Chicago. My city.’ And that feeling, even within the fans, that if you asked any one of us to strap it up, we’d be going down there about to kill something too.”

On Saturday, Dew-Treadway can be again at that very same stadium, solely this time contained in the motion, on the Soldier Field grass and combating to raise his profession.

With a Bears teaching workers trying to determine high-motor, maximum-effort contributors, Dew-Treadway believes he has what it takes to earn his preserve. He additionally is aware of his skill to embrace the enjoyable of this complete expertise — he’s now a defender for the Chicago freaking Bears! — will present a lot wanted gas.

“Now,” he mentioned, “it’s about letting it loose.”

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