By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – Oh, shoot.READ MORE: Chicago Mass Vaccination Sites To Begin Offering Pfizer Vaccine For Children Age 12 To 15 On Thursday
Tracy Porter said something similar when he tweaked a hamstring in training camp this past August. The veteran cornerback immediately feared the worst.
Porter, then just shy of his 29th birthday, had been hampered by hamstring injuries before, but this was a different scenario. A productive player with the Saints, Porter was on his fourth team in four years, given a chance by the Bears after being cut by Washington. He was suddenly sidelined again. It would’ve been easy for coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace to give up on Porter, but they stood by him.
“Coach Fox had me in Denver,” Porter said. “He knew the caliber of player that I was. Ryan (Pace), he had me in New Orleans. He knew the type player that I was.
“They just stuck with me. They had faith in me.”
The Bears stuck with Porter even after his hamstring injury led into the regular season, cutting former Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings instead. Named MVP of Super Bowl XLIV with the Saints, Porter was close to becoming just the answer to a trivia question. Now, he’s Chicago’s reliable top cornerback.
Entering this season, the Bears had viewed Jennings, second-year player Kyle Fuller and free-agent signing Alan Ball as their top corners. But Jennings earned his way out the door, Fuller has been largely inconsistent and Ball became a liability. Instead, it’s the man given a chance on the veteran’s minimum who has emerged to the task.READ MORE: SWAT Team Responds To Building In South Loop For Call Of Men With Guns Inside
“He’s performed pretty well and steadily improved every week,” Fox said of Porter.
“Fourth-Quarter Porter” has become the moniker for the man who helped Chicago beat its rival from Green Bay on Thursday. Porter had an interception of Aaron Rodgers with 3:23 to go in the game, then knocked a potential game-winning touchdown out of James Jones’s hands on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line and just 36 seconds left. Soon after the Bears’ 17-13 win over the Packers, there was Porter eating turkey on national television.
Just like Super Bowl XLIV and so many times before, Porter made the plays to win the game.
“Luck maybe comes around once or twice,” Porter said. “But if it starts to happen repetitively, you can say you have a knack for it. I kind of have a pretty good feel for the game.”
Teammates are thrilled for Porter’s success, in part because he’s the kind of veteran to give back. He’s been a positive influence for Fuller and other young members of the Bears’ secondary, which has started two rookies and several newcomers on coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense.
Porter’s place on the Bears roster isn’t a mistake or coincidence – not even close. Fox and Pace knew they could count on Porter, but the cornerback has surpassed most expectations and taken over as the Bears’ stopper He’s become “Fourth-Quarter Porter.”
“This is a blue-collar job,” Fox said. “The fans and people see the glamor of Sundays and don’t really realize all that goes into it. He’s fought hard and overcome a lot. It’s great to see him be successful.”MORE NEWS: AAA Estimates 1.7 Million Illinoisans Will Hit The Road For Memorial Day Weekend -- How Do They Come Up With Their Predictions?