LAKE FOREST – Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis can’t go anywhere without being asked about Jordan Lynch.
“I was at a restaurant the other night,” DeCamillis said. “I had about three people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, how’s Jordan Lynch doing? How’s Jordan Lynch doing?’ It was like, wow.”
DeCamillis doesn’t live near DeKalb, where Lynch was a Heisman Trophy finalist for Northern Illinois. He lives in downtown Chicago, but it doesn’t matter. The city seems to have adopted him and is rooting for him.
“I know they want him to make it,” DeCamillis said. “That’s for sure.”
Despite the attention he garners from the area, Lynch is just another rookie inside Bears minicamp. That means being responsible for knowing multiple positions, none of which he played at NIU.
When the running backs are together, he’s with them. And when special teams are called for, he’s with them. Combined with the increased pace of play, it’s a big shift from his college days.
“The playbook’s huge, and I’m learning a new position on top of it,” Lynch said, “so I’ve really got to stay focused and learn as much as possible from these veteran guys.”
Right now, he’s listed as a running back, but Lynch is spending a lot of time on special teams. Before signing with the Bears, he had never done any of that, but the transition has been smooth.
Lynch is involved in all the special teams drill work as well as the kickoff and punt teams. On kickoffs, he goes all out and tries to make the tackle, and on punts, he’s a personal protector. He said the goal right now is to learn technique and earn his way onto the depth chart. So far, so good.
“I think he’s a down-to-earth kid that’s just a heck of a kid,” DeCamillis said. “It’s nice to be around a guy like that. He’s a nice guy, plus he’s worked his tail off.
“Coming from the position that he was in, now having to go down and make a tackle and having to go hit bags and do the things that we’re asking him to do right now, it’s been impressive.”
While Lynch is trying to learn from the veterans, he’s also bonding with the rookies. One of his closest friends on the team has been safety Brock Vereen, a Minnesota product. Both played under Jerry Kill, who left after Lynch’s freshman season, and the two of them have formed a bond through that.
Both were big names in college, but now that they’re with the Bears, both have a lot to prove. For Lynch especially, it’ll be an uphill battle to make the team. DeCamillis said he hopes it goes well for Lynch, and so far, it has.
Lynch’s willingness to step into a completely new role with special teams seems to have helped. It’s just another way to get on the field, and for Lynch, it’s hopefully a way to stay there.
“The more you can do, the better,” he said. “Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do. However I find the field, it doesn't matter to me. I just want to be playing football.”