Veteran linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, the elder statesman on the Bears from Vanderbilt, is not going to recognize some of his teammates when the team begins the voluntary offseason program on Monday. At least not as familiar faces around Halas Hall.
Hillenmeyer was excused from the minicamp two weeks ago. The Bears representative to the NFL Players Association, he was attending that organization's most significant meeting in decades as a successor to union boss Gene Upshaw was chosen in DeMaurice Smith.
Hillenmeyer, the strong-side linebacker, is back and excited about the moves that have reshaped the Bears on the offensive side of the ball.
"Whenever you get the chance to play with a Pro Bowl quarterback right at the start of his career, that is too good of an opportunity to ignore,'' he said. "I personally am excited to see another Vandy guy, and a good friend, joining us here in Chicago.
"It is a little bittersweet as Kyle [Orton] is a good friend off the field and a very talented and tough player on it. I wish Kyle all the best in Denver. This has been as active an offseason as I can remember in terms of free agency and everything, so it will be very exciting to get everyone here and get back to work.''