It was a blustery afternoon, with the wind blowing passes off course. Both Dan LeFevour and Juice Williams played in spread offenses in college and are learning the fundementals of receiving a direct snap and taking five-and seven-step drops under the direction of exacting Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz for the first time. They were learning a foreign offense and working with receivers they met the day before. They were also understandably nervous while receiving their first taste of professional football.
Add it all up, and the first day of the Bears' three-day rookie minicamp at Halas Hall was not a stellar one for quarterbacks, who misfired on numerous passes and watched receivers drop numerous others.
"I feel like a freshman in college all over again," said ex-Illini and Vocational signal caller Williams, who was one of 30 players participating on a try-out bases. "Obviously, there were a few plays that were a little rough. But as practice went on, I started to get better."
In all, 54 players practiced for approximately 90 minutes, including all five of the Bears draft picks. Rookie free-agents, such as former Homewood-Flossmoor standout Freddie Barnes, a decorated receiver at Bowling Green, and ex-Hinsdale South and Indiana linebacker Matt Mayberry, as well as second-year players Eric Peterman (receiver), Will Ta'ufo'ou (fullback), Woodny Turrene (cornerback), Kevin Malast (linebacker), Johan Asiata (guard) and Kevin Brock (tight end) also participated.
"It definitely means something to me [after] growing up in the city and watching the Bears for such a long time," said ex-Central Michigan and Benet Academy-Lisle standout LeFevour. "This is really a blessing for me and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Third-round pick Major Wright, a hard-hitting safety from Florida, and fourth-round selection Corey Wootton, a defensive end from Northwestern, also donned a Bears jersey for the first time.
"Good size, smart guy, we love what he was able to do in college," Bears coach Lovie Smith said of LeFevour, a sixth-round pick. "We're going to bring him along slowly and put him in the mix with the rest of our quarterbacks and see how far he can go."