He’ll board a flight Thursday for Chicago with his school’s passing records and the tutelage of two Heisman Trophy winners in his back pocket. But Shane Carden knows that it’s up to him to prove his worth once the Bears’ rookie minicamp starts the next day.
“I was lightly recruited coming out of high school before I got to East Carolina, and I made the most of it,” Carden said Tuesday. “I plan on doing the same in Chicago.
“That’s kinda been my story, going throughout my career, being overlooked. That’s fine. It kinda fires me up to prove more people wrong.
“I think Chicago’s a great place for me. The atmosphere fits who I am very well.”
The 6-2, 218-pounder won the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, throwing for a school-record 4,736 yards, completing 63.5 percent of his attempts and tossing 30 scores in a system rooted in Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” principles.
At Halas Hall, though, he’ll be the fourth quarterback with an uphill battle ahead of him to beat out second-year player David Fales.
Carden lacks ideal quarterback size and his delivery has been called awkward. It’s hard to argue with his success, even if the Pirates’ pass-happy scheme might have labeled him a “system” quarterback.
“It’s not the normal spread offense, where everyone looks to the sidelines from the line of scrimmage,” the Houston native said. “There’s a lot more responsibility for myself at the line of scrimmage the people may not know about.”
My journey has never been easy and that's what makes me who I am, can't wait for my opportunity in Chicago with the Bears #chipneverleft— Shane Carden (@_Scarden5) May 2, 2015
Bears GM Ryan Pace and new offensive coordinator Adam Gase both called the 23-year-old Sunday to recruit him to sign as an undrafted free agent. Gase told him the Bears’ new offense will be similar to the one Peyton Manning ran when Gase oversaw the Broncos’ attack.
“I just felt like it was a great situation for myself,” said Carden, who drove to a Houston hat store to buy a Bears cap on Tuesday.
He’ll have two famous faces rooting for him. Carden trained with 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke at IMG in Bradenton, Fla.
When the former Florida State star was named the Rams’ quarterback coach at the NFL Scouting Combine, IMG hired the 1986 Heisman winner to take his place: Vinny Testaverde.
The 21-year NFL veteran worked with Carden on his release and footwork. Carden absorbed all he could.
“Listening to some of the stories he told me and experiences he’s had going through the league — picking his mind about that,” he said. “The physical side, he taught me so much about how to do be a better quarterback … He helped me a great amount, really.”
Front office change
Marty Barrett will not return as the team’s director of college scouting, a source said, starting the expected post-draft overhaul by Pace.
Barrett joined the Bears in 1997, and three years ago was promoted from West Coast area scout to college scouting director.
Pace said Saturday he would use the next few weeks to go review his staff, most of which he inherited from the ousted Phil Emery.
In January, Pace replaced director of pro personnel Kevin Turks with Josh Lucas, with whom he worked in New Orleans.
This and that
• The Bears claimed 6-6, 310-pound offensive tackle Paul Cornick off waivers from the Broncos. Cornick played in 12 games for John Fox’s team last year, starting three times at right tackle and three times a blocking tight end. The 26-year-old was waived Monday.
• The Bears signed running back Jeremy Langford, safety Adrian Amos and offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje, drafted in the fourth-through-sixth rounds, to four-year deals.