By Robert Zeglinski
BOURBONNAIS — From Oakland to Chicago, Bears outside linebacker Lamarr Houston has always been a talented player and respected veteran leader. Taking those talents into account, his career ride in Chicago has been extremely tumultuous in retrospect.
After suffering two torn ACL’s in the past three seasons, the veteran is finally ready to move on to greener pastures, as he maintains he’s been strengthened by the circumstances he’s been forced to endure.
“It’s been tough but adversity breeds success,” gleamed Houston following Friday’s walk-through at camp.
The 30-year-old is maintaining a positive mindset, one that served him well the first time he tore an ACL. Following that injury, Houston ended up appearing in all 16 games in 2015 while recording 8 sacks—quite the level of play of return to.
A similar bounce back would be welcome for a Bears defense suddenly thin on pass rushers with Pernell McPhee having undergone a knee scope Friday morning. After much speculation of a potential release of Houston earlier this off-season, it’s now clear as day as to why the Bears decided to keep the pass rusher around: they needed him more than ever.
The veteran knows he’s going to be counted on again and in that light, isn’t focusing on himself. It’s about the team finally coming together.
“This is a competitive league. Can’t really focus on you. It’s really about the team being successful.”
As far as what’s Houston seen during the third year of this current Bears regime that makes him believe this team has the tools to do something special, well, it’s continuity. Especially in comparison to the failed era of former general manager Phil Emery. An all-in mentality.
“It’s much different. We have a cohesive locker room. Everybody is really into what we’re doing,” Houston said.
These Bears are still a work in progress, still seeking constant solutions as they attempt to establish any kind of foundation as a team. Those answers are something Houston says the Bears must actively seek out on their own.
“We have to work to build an identity … I think that’s something we have to earn. We’re going to find one before camp’s out.”
Robert is your guy for all things Bears. He’ll be with the team all through training camp. Find him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.