Leonard Floyd ‘impatient’ to return to field in first Bears camp

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Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd started training camp with an illness. (AP)

BOURBONNAIS — Leonard Floyd is using his day off Tuesday to do perhaps the only thing more hectic than participating an NFL training camp: parenting two boys under 2.

“I miss those two knuckleheads,” he said.

A 22-month-old and three-month-old are waiting for him back at his new place in Lake Zurich. Floyd will go home, his first break from his first NFL camp, knowing both everything and nothing about his performance at Olivet Nazarene University.

The Bears have practiced five times.

Floyd has been unencumbered only once.

“Yeah, I’m very impatient,” the Bears’ first-round draft pick said Monday. “Every time I can’t go, I’m upset.”

He left his first practice on a cart after only an hour when Bears trainers, who had promised to monitor him following an illness, pulled the plug. He sat out Friday and was limited Saturday.

The outside linebacker didn’t appear on the injury report Sunday, and said he got a chance to take a few snaps with starters. Monday, though, he was limited by a left shoulder problem that he said was no big deal. He treated it with ice.

“Sometimes,” he said, “you have to do what your body allows you to do.”

Coach John Fox dismissed any serious concern over Floyd’s absence, saying most players miss time in camp. Floyd’s participation report feels more relevant, though, both because of his draft status and the scars of Kevin White’s camp experience a year ago, when Fox insisted the receiver was “day-to-day” until he required season-ending surgery.

The causes for Floyd’s absence have been nowhere near as serious, of course, but constitute a missed opportunity nonetheless. With Pernell McPhee starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of a knee injury, the Bears have snaps — more of them, and against better competition — to give a healthy Floyd during drills.

He wants to take them, too.

“He’s a rookie, so he’s eager to get out there and show himself and prove what he’s got,” outside linebacker Lamarr Houston said. “Everybody understands that.

“But you gotta tell him to take it slow, because he might not realize how long the season is. You gotta tell them to take care of his body, and when he’s in there, give it 100 percent.”

Concerns about Floyd’s durability won’t go away during a training camp or his first season. Floyd is listed at 240 pounds, and even defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has admitted there will be plays that make him wonder whether he’s heavy enough to play consistently.

The Bears are betting his athleticism and pass rush skills make up for it in sub packages. He’s flashed as much a few times in camp, and even looked capable with his long limbs dropping into pass coverage.

“It happens; guys get sick,” Fox said. “But he’s been into pretty good. He did a lot of good stuff in the offseason and he’ll continue to improve as we go.”

McPhee will be a reason why. The Bears’ big-money acquisition from a year ago is active in outside linebacker meetings even if he’s yet to step on the practice field. Sunday, he and Floyd studied formations, with the veteran teaching him keys to look for to determine if the play will be a run or pass, and if it would go right or left.

“His value is off the charts,” said Floyd, who first met McPhee the day after the draft, at Halas Hall. “Because he’s helping me learn the game and different ways I can set myself up to make more plays.”

Veterans Willie Young, Sam Acho and Houston add even more veteran savvy; alongside McPhee, they’re among the Bears’ most outgoing players.

“Every day there’s something new to laugh about or something new to learn,” Floyd said. “So I soak it up.”

Young, who like Floyd is 6-4 but weighs 18 pounds more than him, has embraced the rookie since his arrival. Young’s two-year contract extension, agreed to after curfew on Friday night, ensures that Floyd’s presence won’t be a threat to his roster spot.

“He’s a really good change-up for right now,” Young said. “In and out of the rotation and whatnot, but I see a lot of upside.”

The veterans tip Floyd off about the men he tries to beat in practice — how to guess intent based on formations and the distance between each blocker.

“The first day of training camp is like the first day of school — football school,” Houston said. “You have to learn all the tricks of the trade. There’s a lot to pick up. But if you slow down and do it day by day, you can get it.”

Floyd hopes to once he returns from the team’s one-day break.

He’s excited for more chances — and for his body to comply.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew at the end of the day it’s all about football, which I love to do. It was great.”

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