Chasing a dream, Bears LB John Timu 'leaves it all on the field' vs. Browns


Chasing a dream, Bears LB John Timu 'leaves it all on the field' vs. Browns

The last six weeks have been a dream for Bears rookie linebacker John Timu. 

From his arrival to training camp in late July up until Thursday's preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns, Timu has done everything he could to ensure his lifelong dream won't come to a dashing end when the Bears finalize their 53-man roster by Saturday's deadline.

Timu joined the Bears back in May as an undrafted free agent after a productive career at the University of Washington. Despite being a two-time team captain, four-year starter with an honorable mention All-Pac 12 honor and having 328 tackles in 51 career collegiate games under his belt, Timu was knocked for having the ideal size (6-foot-1) to play inside linebacker at the NFL level. 

Instead of being a roster lock like several of his Huskies teammates that were selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, Timu was left fighting for his job on a roster that is overstocked at linebacker (14 players). 

[MORE BEARS: Bears wrap up preseason on high note with shutout win over Browns]

Turning a negative into a positive, Timu has continued to impress the Bears coaching staff since since his arrival to Chicago, showing why he deserved to hear his name called in the draft last May.

And like he did in the team's first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins where he showed his athleticism with a diving interception, Timu played like a man possessed against the Browns as he collected three tackles (1 TFL), a sack and a quarterback hit in his first extended action in a Bears jersey. 

If the roster cuts were weighing on his mind, he clearly didn't show it.

"Honestly, I'm not even thinking about whether I will make the team or not," Timu said emphatically. "I still try to prepare the same way. Go in and try to execute when I'm out there. Coach talked about the little opportunities we get in this league and I'm trying to take advantage of it."

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Buried on the depth chart at the start of camp, Timu's arrow has been trending up. Entering Thursday's game, he was listed as a third-string inside linebacker behind starters Shea McClellin and Christian Jones (neither dressed against the Browns) and reserves Mason Foster and Jonathan Bostic.

Once a longshot to make the roster, the Long Beach, Calif. native has made the decision extremely difficulty on the coaching staff.

But regardless if he makes the team or not, Timu doesn't have any regrets on his time in Chicago.

"I don't know," Timu said. "Honestly, that's not up to me. I have no idea, I don't know how things work. I left it all on the field that's all I can say."

Under Center Podcast: What should we make of Kevin White?


Under Center Podcast: What should we make of Kevin White?

Kevin White had a, well, interesting media session on Wednesday, but was he wrong for how he approached it? Plus, Moon and JJ look at Mike Furrey’s approach to White and how Mitch Trubisky is quickly growing into being a leader barely over a year after being drafted. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Pro Football Focus: Bears could be surprise playoff team in 2018

Pro Football Focus: Bears could be surprise playoff team in 2018

There's a lot of optimism about the Chicago Bears in 2018 largely because of the incredible offseason had by GM Ryan Pace. It started in free agency with several big-name additions on offense and continued in the NFL Draft with the selection of Roquan Smith, arguably the top all-around defender in the class.

Pace now finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He's entering a season with actual expectations. While those expectations vary, one thing is consistent: Improvement is expected.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chicago should end up challenging for a playoff spot.

No less than five additions on offense this offseason could make key impacts for the Bears, including wide receiver Allen Robinson who was one of the NFL’s best in 2015 before a down year in 2016 and essentially missing all of 2017 through injury. He’s joined at the position by Taylor Gabriel, who had three touchdowns on throws 20 yards or further downfield in 2016 and rookie Anthony Miller, who was tied for fourth among wide receivers in this draft class with 19 missed tackles forced on receptions. Add in tight end Trey Burton, who had three touchdowns from just 16 targets when lined up in the slot and rookie offensive lineman James Daniels from Iowa and it’s easy to see why this offense led by Mitchell Trubisky has the potential to trend upwards big time in 2018.

The Bears were one of five teams PFF listed as a surprise Wild Card candidate. The road to the post-season will be challenging, however. Not only do all of the new pieces have to gel, but they have to do it while playing in one of the toughest divisions in football.

The NFC North could have three teams -- not including the Bears --  playing in January. The Vikings may be the most talented club in the NFC and the Packers will always be a contender with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The Lions have some vulnerability, but they've had more success than Chicago in recent seasons.

Still, Pace deserves credit for winning the offseason.