The Bears got good news today in regards to rookie linebacker Joey LaRocque.
The seventh-round pick from Oregon State will not be held up by the rule that prevents players from reporting to teams until after graduation has been held at their schools.
Oregon State is on the quarter system and does not hold graduation until June 15. By then only a few days will remain in the Bears’ offseason program. It’s a rule designed to show the NFL isn’t trying to take players away from schools early even though many players stop attending classes in the spring in order to prepare for the draft. So, even if a guy has put the books away, he has to wait until his school issues caps and gowns.
Because LaRocque earned his degree in communications in December, he’s been cleared to return to the Bears late next week. That means he’ll have two weeks of workouts under his belt before the full-squad minicamp and will be as acclimated as possible when training camp opens.
LaRocque is the only one of the 12 draft picks who hails from a school with a delayed graduation, so none of the others were in jeopardy of being late. The rule used to be that even if you had a degree, you couldn’t report until after the spring graduation was held at your school. Fortunately, that’s been modified to reward those who get after the books so they can turn to their playbooks.
No word yet on whether or not Oregon State defensive end Gerard Lee, who was signed as an undrafted free agent Tuesday, has a degree in hand yet. If not, he’ll be behind when he’s able to report.