Iowa’s Fiedorowicz on potentially playing for Bears: ‘A dream come true’
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter January 20, 2014 9:04PM
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Andrew Beisel
Updated: January 21, 2014 12:17AM
MOBILE, Ala. — Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz was rather familiar with the first team that cornered him Saturday night. He has cheered like mad for the navy-and-orange team sporting the wishbone “C” since he was a child.
The possibility of playing for the Bears was enough to make the Johnsburg grad smile Monday after the North team’s Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
He grew up idolizing Brian Urlacher. Long before he was recruited by Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin, he watched every minute of the Bears’ Super Bowl run in the 2006 season.
“It’s crazy to think about, watching them all these years,” he said.
“And to think that I might play for them is a dream come true.”
The Bears made plans to hold a sit-down interview with Fiedorowicz later this week as he practices for the exhibition Saturday.
They need defense — to put it kindly — but also want to upgrade their depth at tight end from backup Dante Rosario.
“I think I can prove that I’m a good receiver, a route runner,” Fiedorowicz said, “because a lot of people saw me block in college, and I have more than that to my game.”
Statistics are a difficult metric, given that the 6-7, 265-pounder played for an offense that trends more conservative than Rush Limbaugh’s listeners.
He had only 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns last season but made first-team All-Big Ten.
“I think a lot of tight ends in the NFL are either receiving or blocking tight ends,” he said. “It’s hard to do both.”
Fiedorowicz — who had 91 catches for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns in his Hawkeyes career — thinks he can.
His goal this week is to show that he can “take the top off the defense” and stretch the field vertically.
“I did a lot of blocking in college,” he said. “I think they under-utilized me a little bit in the passing game.
“I think I can prove that here this week.”
Tight end is a sexy position nowadays. Fiedorowicz, who has talked to about 15 teams this week, idolizes Patriots star Rob Gronkowski.
“He can punish guys in the run game,” he said, “and he can also stretch the field.”
Fiedorowicz might not be Gronkowski, but he’s trying to be well-rounded enough to move up from his middle-round draft projection.
“It’s definitely an advantage if you’ve got guys that can block and run,” he said. “I think tight end’s a very valuable position.
“Hopefully, they keep using it like they do in the NFL.”
If he shows he’s more than just a devastating blocker, that’ll be good enough — for the Bears or someone else.
“To be on the verge of being in the NFL is a dream come true,” he said. “All that hard work I’ve put in over the years is really starting to pay off.’’
With the Senior Bowl this week and the NFL combine next month, his journey is just beginning.