BOURBONNAIS (WSCR) Bears rookie defensive end Shea McClellin had his best practice of training camp Thursday and the hope is that the first-round draft pick will turn the corner after a rough start in Bourbonnais.
McClellin was pushed around on the practice field in his first four padded practices and admitted to 670 The Score that there are aspects to training camp that he didn’t expect.
“The grind of things. Mentally, I think, I wasn’t ready for that,” McClellin told The Mully And Hanley Show in Bourbonnais. “Being away from the family and all kinds of other stress and pressure, it can get to you, especially as a rookie. I’m doing better and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
LISTEN: Shea McClellin With Mully And Hanley
Pressure is a part of the game when you are a first-round pick, but considering he is also Phil Emery’s first pick for a team with a long-string of bad first-round picks, there’s even more pressure than normal.
McClellin admitted that he didn’t realize how many eyes would be on him already.
“I think that’s a fair assessment,” he said. “The media is crazy around here and that’s something people told me it would be, but it’s definitely pretty crazy.”
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has publicly said that McClellin needs to relax a little bit and not be so critical of himself. The rookie agrees.
“I think I’m harder on myself than anyone,” McClellin said. “I need to not do that and kind of just, like Coach Marinelli said, just have fun with it and play the next play.”
The defensive end did exactly that Thursday, showing off his speed and athleticism in front of the fans and even grabbing an interception at the line of scrimmage.