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Chat room: New Bears CB Buster Skrine talks Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray and ‘super-high expectations’

Presuming the Bears begin their season opener in nickel coverage — and against Aaron Rodgers, why in the world wouldn’t they? — Buster Skrine will take the field carrying superlatives on his shoulder.

Chicago Bears defensive back Buster Skrine walks the sideline during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s preseason opener.
Brian O’Mahoney/For the Sun-Times

BOURBONNAIS — Presuming the Bears begin their season opener in nickel coverage — and against Aaron Rodgers, why in the world wouldn’t they? — Buster Skrine will take the field carrying superlatives on his shoulder.

At 30, he’ll be the oldest starter on their defense. No one on the defense has started more games than his 85. At 5-9, 185 pounds, he’ll be the smallest defensive starter, too.

The fifth-round pick in the 2011 draft has used a combination of skill and veteran wile to carve out a nine-year NFL career. In four years each with the Browns and Jets, though, he has posted only one winning season.

He signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Bears in March hoping for more.

The Bears are happy with what they’ve seen so far in training camp.

“He’s a savvy vet,” coach Matt Nagy said this week, “and I love him in there.”

In this week’s Chat Room — edited for clarity — Skrine talks about his new team and his side jobs over the years, from aerobics teacher to player marketing director to, yes, television cooking star:

When was the last time someone called you Daryl?

Buster Skrine: ‘‘[Safeties coach] Sean [Desai] calls me Daryl, just to be funny.’’

How did you become Buster?

BS: ‘‘My grandma gave it to me. I’m from the South. Me and [rookie cornerback] Duke [Shelley], we both have nicknames. We’re from the same area. My dad’s name is Butch. But he’s a Daryl, too.’’

In the 2017 offseason, you taught a regular aerobics class in Manhattan for charity. What was that like?

BS: ‘‘My first class, I put it on my Instagram, and seven people came. And I knew all seven. You’re like, ‘No rank.’ I started reaching out to people and reaching out to certain companies and offering a free class at first, just to raise awareness. We had 200 people show up two weeks later. Wall Street guys, artists. SoHo is an artsy part of town. It was a little bit of everything. I’d do it at night. I’d take the ferry from Weehawken [New Jersey], get my Citi Bike, ride my bike to SoHo and I’d be there.’’

What did you learn about yourself?

BS: ‘‘As a football player, you have to come in, work hard to perform at a high level on the field. To work out with people who have a 9-to-5 job, to see them working out at the level they’re working at, it’s not just a competition on the football field. But it’s in life.’’

Tell me about Dr. [Mehmet] Oz.

BS: ‘‘It was fun. He’s a good guy. I worked out with him before — he was so serious in a boxing class that I thought he was kidding. That was the first time I met him. They have a class in New York called Rumble. A who’s who was invited. We were partners on the same bag — a bigger teardrop [bag]. He’s taking the class serious, he’s drenched in sweat. I’m like, ‘This is why this guy’s so successful. That’s how he approaches everything.’ ’’

And you were on his show?

BS: ‘‘I taught those workouts. He heard about it and asked if I would come on and do a four-minute workout session.’’

Were you nervous?

BS: ‘‘I’ve been on ‘The Dr. Oz Show,’ ‘The Rachael Ray Show’ and ‘Good Morning America.’ I won on Rachael Ray — there was a cook-off for [2017] Super Bowl week. I made bison burgers and beat [Dolphins safety] Michael Thomas and [Jets linebacker] Avery Williamson. I put some olive oil in the pan so it’s nice and juicy. I added spices to the bison burger — I always like a little lemon pepper. I can’t tell you the rest. It’s a simple recipe, though.’’

And what did you win?

BS: ‘‘A Rachael Ray Super Bowl ring. It’s in my jewelry box. It’s big. The stones aren’t real.’’

What did you do on “GMA”?

BS: ‘‘A workout.’’

You know, the Bears had a guy go on the “Today” show last year, and it didn’t go so well.

BS: ‘‘I see. There were different reasons why we went on.’’

You can’t get that kind of exposure in Cleveland.

BS: ‘‘I would say, New York and Chicago. They’re big cities. The market’s different.’’

Was that part of the appeal of coming here?

BS: ‘‘You guys have a great market, but mainly throughout my career, I’ve played for two teams rebuilding. I wanted to go somewhere I feel comfortable with and is established. When Coach [Matt] Nagy gave me a call, I was happy to do this.’’

High expectations are a good thing?

BS: ‘‘I just want to hold up my end of the deal. Our expectations are super-high from people on the inside and outside.’’

You’re a Cubs fan?

BS: ‘‘I’ve been to six Cubs games already this year. I threw out the first pitch and sung the stretch. I sat with a couple Hall of Famers in their lounge. You could tell that they really enjoyed playing the game, were passionate about coming back to Chicago. In the city of Chicago, it shows the love that you give, and receive. Because none of those guys are from Chicago. But they all live here now.’’

What has impressed you most in training camp?

BS: ‘‘A-Rob. [Wide receiver Allen Robinson] catches damn near every ball that’s thrown to him. To see a guy that consistent, I give him a lot of props.’’

You’ve got a side business?

BS: ‘‘Versatile New York. It helps athletes, models and musicians maximize their platform. Look out here, look at all these fans. While you’re getting the most attention, you should take advantage of it, off the field.’’

By using social media? Or do you put them in touch with ­businesses?

BS: ‘‘Signings, free cars, [social-media] ad postings. It’s really just like booking an athlete or talent and asking, ‘What’s their interest?’ You’re just trying to get people to realize that once you’re done playing, you’re probably not going to be able to have the same influence. Just capitalize on it.’’

Jets defensive end Leonard Williams is your biggest client — literally and figuratively?

BS: ‘‘Yeah. I don’t really talk about numbers in business, but he was the face of Visa.’’

Does being an active player hurt your reputation in that business or help it?

BS: ‘‘I know a lot of times, agents, all they do is take their 3 percent. They have so many people they have to manage, they can’t really do anything off the field. Or they just don’t care about it. . . . Having that social-media platform will put extra dollars in your pocket.