Bears’ Willie Young: ‘Don’t know anything’ about LB
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BOURBONNAIS — Willie Young told a parable.
As usual, it was about fishing.
And a position change — from defensive end, where he might have been the Bears’ MVP last season, to outside linebacker, a position he’s never played before.
“I’m ready for whatever,” Young said Friday at Bears training camp, his first comments since surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon Dec. 21. “I go fishing and the forecast says it isn’t going to rain, but it might rain.
“Guess what: I got me a 100-mile-an-hour Bass Pro Shop dry suit right next to me, right in the drop storage hatch and I can easily walk to the front of my boat, pull it out and put it on and be ready for the occasion.”
Even if, as he admitted, there was “not much” he could do to prepare himself for outside linebacker.
“I don’t know anything about playing linebacker,” he said. “So obviously I study day in and day out now. It’s never a day off. Being in a 4-3, I can make strength calls left and right with my eyes closed. It doesn’t matter.”
The move is unchartered waters for the fisherman, who is practicing with the team but admits he’s not in football shape yet. His recovery is on schedule for someone about eight months removed from surgery, he said.
Asked the last time he was asked to cover anyone, Young joked about putting his son down to bed a few days ago.
“I pulled the covers up, kissed him and said I’d see him later,” he said.
Maybe, then, the outside linebacker spot is similar to his defensive end role with the Lions, when he rushed the passer from the tight end’s outside shoulder?
“Heck no! No! Not even close,” he said. “I might’ve had two things to worry about at defensive end, regardless of how far out I was: keying the ball and getting the strength call from a linebacker.
“That ain’t so much the case no more. I’ve got to give a call, take a call, listen for a call and watch out for a call and also key the ball.”
Young is joined by prestigious company in learning a new role: Jared Allen is the NFL’s highest-paid outside linebacker, in terms of a salary cap hit, despite never playing the position before. Lamarr Houston is moving there, too, after recovering from a torn right ACL.
There’s a chance, then, that Young might be playing for his job.
He’s not worried about those rough waters, at least yet.
“I’m not worried about all that, man,” he said. “I came in as a seventh-round draft pick, and I started from the bottom. So ain’t nowhere for me to go but up.
“At this point I’m not worried about all that stuff. I’m not concerning myself with what might happen or what could happen. I’ve got too much ahead of me to worry about, you know.”
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