A Super Bowl champion stopped by the campus of Olivet Nazarene University this week.
Linebacker Otis Wilson, who spent eight of his nine seasons donning a Bears uniform from 1980-87 came by Bourbonnais on Wednesday. He partnered with the NFL Network for the Fan Zone Experience where he met with fans and media members for a couple hours.
The 58-year-old Wilson played a crucial role in the Bears' dominating Super Bowl XX win in 1985, the team's last title.
Wilson said a lot of fans don't get the opportunity to see the Bears at Soldier Field so when they are allowed to come out to training camp, they really appreciate it.
"To be able to get up close and personal is an exciting way to kick off the season," Wilson said. "NFL Network offers unique experiences such as bringing back older players, having the Lombardi trophy available and more - so it's a great thing to be involved and see fans engaged."
I've chatted with Wilson on multiple occasions including most recently in 2013 and he always gives me his take on the current Bears.
He hopes the Bears do well this season and had this to say about the upcoming season for Jay Cutler and company.
"It seems like coach John Fox is trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and it's always a mystery of how the season will go for any team. If you find someone and you think he'll be a Hall of Famer and it could be a bust. Then you have guys who are mediocre, last on the depth chart and they could end up being All-Pro.
..So you just don't know. And you gotta keep everybody healthy. So if they can stay out there, play well and gel - they'll do well this season."
Since Wilson performed at such a high level in his career, I asked him if he had any advice for the defense. He kept it simple.
"Play hard, play smart and don't let them score."
Wilson last played in 1989 with the Los Angeles Rams. He says things have changed because the NFL has had to evolve over time.
"The time is different, the media is different, the game is more popular and the exposure is greater. Back when we were playing football, you were allowed to do a lot of things and today, you can't do those things so the game is a little different.
He called the league more of a passing game rather than a running game which was prevalent in his time.
"Back then, if you were on the west coast, you'd be passing more and if you were mid-west like us, you'd play the running game because of weather. Now, it's wide open and has a lot of media attention. Which is more scrutiny though because more exposure equals everyone seeing everything. And everything is instantaneous these days."
Wilson has his own charitable foundation which benefits lots of kids in the Chicago area and it does a great thing for everyone involved. It is called the Otis Wilson Charitable Association, go check it out here. It is a fit, wellness and literacy program.
He's one of the good guys around town and whenever he stops by a Bears event it's always fun. Wilson provided some good insight on the past and present that is the NFL and on his former team.
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