What would Bears camp be without a litle bit of rookie hazing? But a tarantula in bed?
BY KALYN KAHLER Staff Reporter August 13, 2013 10:34PM
Updated: August 13, 2013 11:08PM
If Bears training camp came with a rookie manual, the intro might read something like this:
Don’t even think about riding the elevator. Get your wallet ready for spontaneous snack runs. Embrace your embarrassing nickname. Watch out for exotic insects in your bed.
‘‘[The veterans] give us a hard time, but that’s expected,’’ rookie guard Kyle Long said. ‘‘There’s a lot of clowning going on after the football is over during the day.’’
Although coach Marc Trestman’s philosophy doesn’t allow for rookie hazing, not all the veterans feel the same way.
‘‘He’s done away with a lot of the rookie hazing, but they still find ways to get it in anyway,’’ rookie defensive end Cornelius Washington said.
With camp breaking Wednesday, here’s a look — in their own words — into the hazing some of the rookies endured.
DT Zach Minter
Veterans didn’t have to think long to christen Minter with a nickname. His 6-1, 297-pound stature saddled him with the nickname ‘‘Goldberg,’’ the chubby goalie from ‘‘The Mighty Ducks’’ series.
‘‘During [offseason team activities], I was a little heavy,’’ Minter said with a laugh. ‘‘I looked more like [Goldberg], so that’s been my name.’’
‘‘Goldberg’’ said he has adapted well to rookie life and even has tried to sneak on to the exclusive elevator.
‘‘I’ve gotten some stuff for trying to use the elevator,’’ Minter said. ‘‘ ‘Stay off the elevator, rookie!’ The guys make sure that we follow that because they had to do it when they were rookies.’’
DE Cornelius Washington
Minter isn’t the only rookie with a nickname. Washington is known as ‘‘T-Rex’’ because he doesn’t use his arms much during bag drills.
‘‘I have short arms,’’ Washington said. ‘‘But T-Rex is a beast meat-eater. I can live with it.’’
At the start of camp, ‘‘T-Rex’’ said he and other rookies spent hundreds of dollars on a long list of snacks the veterans requested.
‘‘There was some crazy stuff on the list,’’ Washington said. ‘‘Bugles, Twinkies. Some of the stuff I was like,‘Do they even make these still?’ But it’s a rookie tradition, and I had a blast doing it.’’
Even though he knows better, Washington said he still tries to ride the elevator.
‘‘I’m going to try until one of these days they’re going to forget and let me on there,’’ Washington said. ‘‘On that day, I’m going to rejoice!’’
LB Jon Bostic
Bostic said he wouldn’t call it hazing but a way of showing respect for his older teammates.
‘‘Most of it is out of respect,’’ Bostic said. ‘‘If we’ve got to be to a meeting in five minutes, we let veterans use the elevator. They’re a lot older than we are. Our legs are a lot fresher.’’
OT Jordan Mills
Mills has gotten off fairly easy compared to his fellow rookies.
‘‘I haven’t been tied to the goalpost, [had] Gatorade poured on my head or anything like that,’’ Mills said. ‘‘All I’ve been doing is bringing waters to meetings. Then anything they need, I’ll go get it for them.’’
OG Kyle Long
Unlike Mills, Long said he has been a popular target for pranks.
‘‘When you’re a draft pick and expected to come in and have an impact on the team, you know you’re going to get hell from a lot of the guys, but it’s all friendly,’’ Long said. ‘‘I came into my room, and there’s a tarantula crawling on my bed.’’
Long never learned who was behind the tarantula prank, but he won’t soon forget it.
‘‘I hate spiders,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m putting a bounty out. So if anybody has information regarding the tarantula put in my room, they will be compensated.’’