BOURBONNAIS – If training camp is like going back to school for the veterans and the first day of school for the rookies, it’s a mix of the two for veteran newcomers.
Lamarr Houston and Ryan Mundy, the Bears’ first two additions in free agency, spoke to the media on Thursday, their first full day in Bourbonnais.
“It’s a different organization, a different feel. It’s nice out here,” Houston said. “I like it, it’s real secluded and real private, and I’m excited just to get to work in this environment.”
For Mundy, the environment in Bourbonnais is going to be a carryover from what he experienced in organized team activities and minicamp about coach Marc Trestman’s team philosophy.
“You definitely get the sense of family, togetherness, oneness, and it starts with our leadership, and Coach Trestman has done a great job, day in and day out, letting guys know that we’re in this together, and I think that’s something we all believe,” he said.
The players had to take part in a conditioning test Thursday morning – last summer, Trestman referred to it as an “accountability test” – that includes three 300-yard shuttles. Houston said everybody finished and “everybody was in shape. Coach Trestman was impressed and so was our strength staff. We looked good as a team.”
Mundy added that the success as a team on the test showed that “everybody did a great job of preparing over the last four, 4 1/2 weeks.”
Houston and Mundy are joining a defense with Pro Bowlers Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Lance Briggs and Jared Allen.
“We have a lot of veteran guys in the room and a lot of guys who know what it takes to win and be successful, so that’s definitely going to help us and give us an advantage in our competitive edge every week,” Houston said. “I’m excited about being around a group of guys older and mature and ready to take on the season as a whole and as a group.”
Houston gets to play opposite Allen, who he called “one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league.”
“To play opposite of him, that’s an honor, first of all, and I’m grateful to get the opportunity to play with someone of his caliber.”
The Pro Bowler who will join Mundy in position drills when practice begins Friday is Adrian Wilson, putting Mundy in a familiar spot, as he echoed the theme of Bears camp.
“When I signed, [general manager] Phil Emery told me the job wasn’t going to be given to me. I said that’s all right, I’ve been a worker all my life, particularly in Pittsburgh and last year in New York,” he said. “Competition is nothing new to me”