Chicago Bears' safety Major Wright on his veteran teammates: "They're very helpful. I commend them on that; for helping me as much as they do, because they really don't have to. That's not their job. They help me a lot on the field and off the field. Anytime I need anything, I can call them and they'll be there for me."
That's some heaping praise from a Bears' hard-hitting rookie safety, looking to make a name for himself in the National Football League. But Wright is certainly due some praise of his own. According to sources close to the team, Wright is putting in the work; studying film and working on his technique. All in an effort to emerge as a starter in 2011, among a group of solid veterans.
But exactly who are those veterans, holding place in line, possibly setting Wright back? Well, Chris Harris for one. Harris probably had his best season in-uniform, at free safety for the Bears; while Danieal Manning had what some might dub to be a breakout year at strong safety.
But at this point, it may be a longshot for the Bears to manage a deal with Manning, who is expected to be an unrestricted free agent in 2011. The Bears reportedly offered Manning a deal worth six million over the next three seasons. Manning rejected the offer and has been given a RFA tender offer. But with a new CBA in the works, and Manning's five years of service, he'll most likely be an unrestricted free agent in 2011.
Keep in mind that Manning has expressed a desire to stay in Chicago in the past. But given his recent reputation as a hold-out, I seriously doubt Manning is looking to make a bargain-basement deal with the Bears. Although, stranger things have happened...
Assuming Manning is gone in 2011, Wright will be all but guaranteed a starting spot this coming season. Even if Manning stays, the Bears are likely to press the issue with their third-round draft pick. Wright is a coach's favorite, due to his hard-hitting style of play and all-around work ethic.
"I think I'm getting better," Wright told Pro Football Weekly. And while it's hard to say if Wright can be a long-term starter in Chicago, he'll certainly get his shot in 2011. One personal observation definitely has me excited about the sophomore safety: Wright's instincts are second to none. He was a veritable football magnet during training camp.
If Wright can find a good balance between his instincts and his instructions, he has all the potential in the world to be a starter on this team for many years to come.