With the lockout over, former Northwestern standout Corbin Bryant was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent.
“It was definitely one of my goals since I started playing football in high school,” Bryant said of becoming a Bear. “It’s come true now. I’ve got to do the best I can with my situation.”
A native Chicagoan, Bryant admitted he is a lifelong Bears fan. On Monday, eight different NFL teams inquired for Bryant’s services. The Bears gave the defensive tackle the best offer, and he couldn’t pass it up.
“I was just hoping for the best situation,” Bryant said. “When it came down to it, the Bears were the best one that came to me and I pulled the trigger.”
Soon after agreeing to terms with the Bears, Bryant received a phone call from Bears’ defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. The two spent some time talking about football and how the Bears’ defensive operates.
The lockout kept NFL teams from signing undrafted free agents until a new collective bargaining agreement was in place. After not being selected in the NFL Draft, Bryant was forced to play the waiting game.
The three months of waiting was tough for Bryant, but his patience was rewarded on Monday night.
“It was a tough wait,” Bryant said. “It’s been worth it. Getting the chance to play in the NFL is a once and a lifetime experience. You only live once.”
Now that Bryant is a Bear, he will now be forced to endure another wait.
“I just can’t wait to get started,” Bryant said. “I’m so excited, I probably won’t be able to sleep. I’m really excited and glad this labor thing is all over and I get to get some work in.”
After signing with the Bears, Bryant’s first phone call was to his parents who told him “congratulations” and “go get to work”. He will do so this weekend when the Bears begin camp at Olivet Nazarene University.
Bryant will get the chance to work alongside former Northwestern teammate Corey Wootton, who was drafted by the Bears in the 2010 draft.
During the offseason, Bryant and Wootton trained for the upcoming season together. The former Wildcats and longtime friends are again teammates, but now with the Bears.
“This is a different level we’re playing at now and it’s different responsibilities,” Bryant said. “We’re just going to go out and play as hard as we can.”
At Northwestern, Bryant was a three-year starter and a co-captain. He was given the Randy Walker Courage Award, which is given to the Wildcat who shows work ethic and toughness.
Now, all of Bryant’s hard work has paid off. He will be a member of his hometown Chicago Bears, and is grateful for the chance.
“I get an opportunity to gout and represent my hometown,” Bryant said. “It means the world to me.”