BOURBONNAIS —Rookie running back Jeremy Langford almost literally was following in Matt Forte’s footsteps this summer.
The powerfully built (6-0, 208) Langford, a fourth-round draft pick from Michigan State, is the latest in a long list of running backs the Bears have acquired to complement Forte.
He at least is smart enough to try and find out what it is that has made Forte so good, so versatile and so durable. That’s why he spent part of the offseason working out out with Forte.
“Forte has been a consistently good running back in the league for awhile now,” said Langford, who rushed for 1,522 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns at Michigan State last year. “So I felt like getting a chance to learn from him and him being willing to teach me — you’ve got to learn from him because he’s done a great job in the NFL.”
It’s possible that if Langford is a big enough hit as a rookie, Forte could be expendable as a free agent after this season. But Forte was happy to teach him. Langford is battling 2014 fourth-round pick Ka’Deem Carey, Jacquizz Rodgers, Senorise Perry and Daniel Thomas for one the backup spots behind Forte.
“I showed him my routine and how I do it, which is really smart of him to get behind an older, veteran guy and try to learn the routine of what he does in the offseason,” Forte said. “We worked out for a couple of weeks. he’s a down-to-earth, humble type of kid. All the running backs pretty much have the same mentality.”
Out with the old
This is the first training camp since 2003 without Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman. Neither veteran was signed in the offseason (Tillman signed with the Panthers. Briggs is unsigned).
Kind of strange?
“Now that I went through the whole OTA and minicamp without them, it just feels regular,” said cornerback Tim Jennings, who spent the previous five seasons with Briggs and Tillman.
“Every in the year, it was kind of different. But we’ve got a lot of guys in the locker room. We got the coaching staff to kind of help smooth that whole transition. It’s back to being focused on getting back to winning football games.”
Gone but not forgotten
The Bears recognized Devin Hester’s record-breaking kick return in this year’s media guide, even though Hester accomplished the feat with the Falcons.
Under the heading of “Ridiculous Returner,” the Bears listed each of Hester’s 21 return touchdowns — 20 of which came with the Bears from 2006-13. Hester broke the NFL record for return touchdowns with a 62-yard punt return for the Falcons against Lovie’s Buccaneers on Sept. 18 last season.