Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson unfazed by competition

After all but being handed a starting cornerback job in the offseason, Stevenson already is being pushed by fellow rookie Terell Smith. “I didn’t earn anything. I have no straps in the league ... It’s a competition until the end,” he said.

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Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (29) is expected to be a starter this season. But fellow rookie Terell Smith (32) isn’t far behind.

Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (29) is expected to be a starter this season. But fellow rookie Terell Smith (32) isn’t far behind.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson was all but handed a starting position in the offseason, but already is learning that nothing is really handed to you in the NFL.

After some notable lapses in the first two days of training camp, the second-round draft pick from Miami (Fla.) already was splitting first-team reps last Friday with fellow rookie Terell Smith, a fifth-round pick from Minnesota. It was an early “Welcome to the NFL” moment.

To his credit, Stevenson was unfazed by the competition from a player drafted 109 spots after him.

“It’s a competition until the end,” Stevenson said. “We both got drafted — for opportunities it really doesn’t matter where you got drafted. He comes in every day with his head down, willing to work just as I am.

“I had a couple of slip-ups as a rookie. [The coaches] didn’t tell me anything, but they made it real clear that it’s going to be a competition. I didn’t earn anything. I have no straps in the league. Every day we come in and smile at each other. We also know that we’re both working for the same position.”

Stevenson said “my knowledge of the game” is his biggest issue. “My understanding of what comes with certain players and what comes with certain down-and-distances,” Stevenson said. “Just understanding what type of player I’m gong against. Chase Claypool is totally different than DJ Moore. I don’t want to say I struggle with it, but having that mental capacity to switch in and out instead of going out there like I’m in college and just playing everybody the same way.”

Stevenson has responded with better practices this week, including an interception Monday.

“I was kind of like, ‘It’s kind of slowing down for me,’ ” Stevenson said. “Still being a rookie having outside things going on. Trying to get settled but also being able to come in and be a professional and lock in on what I really need to do. There’s a lot going on with it. But I’m starting to get better with it — starting to really understand the playbook and understand what these coaches and this entire organization wants from me.”

Preseason starters

Coach Matt Eberflus said offensive and defensive starters “will get some play time” in the preseason opener against the Titans on Aug. 12 at Soldier Field, but still is finalizing details.

Justin Fields and the first-team offense played 18 snaps (three possessions) in last year’s opener against the Chiefs.

Roschon Johnson out

Rookie running back Roschon Johnson, fullback Khari Blasingame, guard Nate Davis and tight end Chase Allen missed Tuesday’s practice with undisclosed injuries.

Eberflus, per his policy, would not provide any information about their -absences, but indicated none was a long-term -situation.

Bears sign Roy

The Bears claimed defensive tackle Bravvion Roy off waivers from the Panthers. Roy, a sixth-round draft pick in 2020, had 17 tackles, one interception and three pass break-ups in 13 games (four starts) for the Panthers last season.

The Bears waived defensive tackle Donovan Jeter to make room for Roy.

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