Can Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene fill void left by Brian Urlacher?
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com May 9, 2013 10:50PM
Florida v Tennessee
Updated: June 11, 2013 6:46AM
All Bears linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene know about each other comes through highlights, word of mouth and their brief interactions at the NFL combine.
That will change soon.
Bostic and Greene will practice together for the first time Friday when rookie minicamp begins. In the end, the relationship they foster and the players they become might come to define the Bears’ 2013 draft, regardless of all the attention first-round pick Kyle Long has gotten and will get.
For general manager Phil Emery, it would be quite an accomplishment to get Brian Urlacher’s replacement (Bostic) in his first try, along with a versatile partner in crime (Greene) to roam outside.
‘‘From what I hear, [Greene is] pretty much the same thing as me,’’ Bostic said.
It’s true. Bostic (6-1, 245 pounds) and Greene (6-1, 241) are the same size, and Emery has praised them for the same things: versatility, athleticism, smarts, production.
They also come from football families. Bostic’s father played for the Detroit Lions, while Greene’s father played at Purdue and his brother, running back Ray Graham, just signed with the Houston Texans.
More important, they have a similar mentality. Neither comes off as a know-it-all, overconfident college star. They are eager to learn from those front of them — Lance Briggs, D.J. Williams and James Anderson.
Briggs has spoken to Bostic and Greene, telling them what it means to be a Bears linebacker and also leaving a line of communication open for anything.
‘‘I’m going to compete for the job, but with a lot of veterans in front of me, that’s big for me because I learn a lot from visual things,’’ said Bostic, a second-round pick from Florida. ‘‘It’s easy for me to go in and basically do the same things as the guy in front of me, and at the same time compete with him. I learn a lot that way. I don’t mind some veterans in front of me. Actually, that’s a great situation.’’
Greene called it an ‘‘honor’’ to work under Briggs.
‘‘As much as this may sound weird, that’s something I wanted to do,’’ said Greene, a fourth-round pick from Rutgers. ‘‘Why not learn under a guy like him, not just on the field, but off the field — what he does to stay out of trouble, what he does to take care of his body and what helps him have longevity in the NFL.’’
Bostic and Greene also have similar on-the-field experiences. Greene moved from safety to linebacker in the spring of his redshirt sophomore year, while Bostic said he went to Florida ‘‘playing corner and safety on defense and running back on offense’’ before shifting to linebacker early on.
Those experiences helped sway Emery and his staff.
‘‘It gave me that edge where I don’t have problems covering tight ends, slot receivers or backs out of the backfield,’’ Greene said.
‘‘Linebackers have to be able to cover,’’ Bostic added. ‘‘You’re going to be on an island with the tight end or the back.’’
Greene and Bostic have agreed to their rookie deals. All that lies ahead is training, learning the Bears’ scheme and competing for playing time — and doing it together.
‘‘I’m looking forward to working with [Bostic] and building a relationship with him,’’ Greene said. ‘‘I know we’re both planning to be here a long time.’’