Hroniss Grasu said it was like learning a new language — going from “French to Romanian.” The Bears’ third-round pick has used his first week on the team to digest the playbook.
Kyle Long, the center’s former Oregon teammate and one of his best friends, is there to translate. Grasu has had to apologize to the Pro Bowler for asking so many questions.
“I ask him certain situations versus a certain defense,” he said Friday after the first rookie minicamp practice. “First thing he told me is to relax, and that I’m smart, and when I get out there it will come together. …
“Having him there for me is unbelievable.”
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Grasu’s biggest adjustment will be to identify the middle linebacker and learn different protections.
“But that’s the best thing about centers is, they’re usually the smartest guy as far as the O-line goes,” he said. “And knowing the system that they came from, that he came from in Oregon, I feel fairly comfortable …
“I have no questions about what he’s going to be able to do.
Before Jeremy Langford became Michigan State’s bell-cow running back his last two seasons, he was a cornerback waiting for an opportunity. The lesson applies as an NFL rookie, he said.
“Persevere through whatever happens,” the fourth-round pick said.
He said he’s looking forward to being tutored by Matt Forte — “It’s good to be behind him and learn,” he said — and knows that the fastest way to earn playing time is on special teams. In part because of his tackling ability, he appeared on all four units in his first three college seasons.
“Everybody can’t play special teams,” he said. “It takes mental toughness and physical toughness.”
Receiver Cameron Meredith felt the pull of his hometown team when coach John Fox and wide receivers coach Mike Groh called minutes after the NFL Draft. Other teams did too, but Illinois State’s leading receiver last year — with 66 catches for 1,061 yards — let those calls go to voice mail.
“As bad as it sounds, I had to,” the 6-3, 207-pound free agent signee said.
The Berwyn-born alum of St. Joseph’s High School knew the first time he attended Bears training camp at 13 that he wanted to be a pro.
“Now I’m on the other side of the fence,” he said. “It’s kinda crazy.”