BOURBONNAIS -- Trying to crack a NFL roster as an undrafted rookie free agent is tough in its own right, but trying to cement a spot on the team you grew up rooting for makes the task that much more difficult. But Bears rookie Terriun Crump is up for the challenge.
Crump, who grew up in Country Club Hills, Ill., was a star at Rich Central High School. As a senior, he finished with 36 receptions and nine touchdowns and also set his high school record with 192 receiving yards in a single game.
Ironically, Crump will make his NFL debut on Thursday night at the place he's always dreamed of playing: Soldier Field.
"It's like a dream come true to play my first NFL game at Soldier Field. I'm going to go out there and have fun and do my best," Crump said.
"I Know the Bears are hard-nosed football, the team is known for toughness and just being 'Monsters of the Midway.' Growing up from a blue-collar city in Chicago, I have the same attitude."
Playing in front of your friends and family brings the added pressure of trying to find a way to have them all present to watch, but the former Rich Central standout knows he can't fulfill everybody's ticket requests.
"We only get two tickets, but man I have almost 100 calls. I wish I could have everyone there," Crump said.
After graduating high school, Crump took a two-year journey to College of DuPage and Arkansas-Monticello before finally ending up in Macomb at Western Illinois. He went on to have a storied three-year career for the Leathernecks, finishing with 135 receptions (good for 5th in school history), 2,067 yards (4th) and 11 touchdowns. Crump was also named WIU's 'Most Valuable Player' in 2011.
The Bears signed Crump immediately following the NFL Draft in April and he impressed the team enough in rookie mini-camp to stick on the roster for training camp.
Remarkably, when Crump arrived in Bourbonnais, the player he grew up idolizing was one of his teammates.
"Brandon Marshall is someone I always compared my game to because of how aggressive and strong he handled other DB's and how tough he played. I admired that and of course Randy Moss and other greats. Guys like Devin Hester. I don't have some of his abilities, but he's a great receiver himself," Crump said.
Since camp started, Crump has been trying to soak up everything he can from a Pro Bowl wide-out like Marshall.
"It's awesome. It's more than I could ever imagine. He's just been nothing but great to me and learning everything I can. I'm trying to pick his brain. I'm just like becoming a sponge, and whatever I see him do, I'm trying to emulate and adapt different parts from his game to my game," Crump said.
No matter what the future in Chicago holds for Crump, he's going to give it everything he's got and lay it all on the line for the Bears.
"I'm someone that's going to give it all and lay it all out there for the team. I just want to bring the hard work and whatever the team needs I'm willing to do it."