GREAT LAKES – The Chicago Bears started their Rookie Rally Friday at Naval Station Great Lake, a series of eight events designed to help rookies acclimate to the Chicago area and potential off-field demands.
The Bears brought about 25 players and staff, including team chairman George McCaskey, on board to tour part of the installation and meet about 50 sailors who came to the gymnasium in Building 440 to chat with the new players and get autographs.
The rally is designed to introduce the new players to the area and help them discover what interests they might have in off-field community endeavors. And while there are no commitments, first-round draft choice cornerback Kyle Fuller said the trip piqued his curiosity.
"It's interesting," Fuller said. "I'm looking forward to learning more about (the installation) today. I've heard only good things about Chicago and I'm looking forward to exploring the area."
But Fuller said he is already up to speed on football's importance to the area fans.
"I defintely realize how much it means," he said. "Starting at the draft party, I found that it is important to the fans and that's what I like about being a Chicago Bear."
Meanwhile, another member of the party, undrafted free agent Jordan Lynch, who is trying to make the team as a running back, was already somewhat familiar with the zeal Bears fans possess. Growing up in Chicago, he was able to withness the weekly media buildup to Sundays.
"I've always wanted to play professionally, and now that I'm here with a few practices under my belt, I'm starting to pick things up," Lynch said. "The way the professionals handle themselves both on and off the field, that's something I always wanted to be a part of."
Meanwhile, the visit also meant a lot to the Navy members who took the time to greet the team.
"It was certainly great to have the Bears, George McCaskey and the 2014 rookie class here to learn about our installation and what we do," said Capt. Bill Bulis, commanding officer at Naval Station Great Lakes. "We look forward to ... future endeavors with them and the team's 2014 season."