No Bears player will be happier to step on the field for Thursday night’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers than defensive Corey Wootton.
After a strong start to training camp, the four-year veteran suffered minor hip and calf injuries that forced him to miss some practices and last Friday night’s preseason opener in Carolina.
“It’s definitely frustrating, especially the way I started the first two days and having to be out for some time,” Wootton said. “But it feels good now to be back out there and getting after it.”
After being selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Northwestern, Wootton was slowed by injuries early in his career. But the 6-6, 270-pounder had a breakout season last year, playing in all 16 games for the first time with seven starts and recording seven sacks.
A year later, Wootton is competing for a starting defensive end position with 2012 first-round draft pick Shea McClellin, although both are expected to see considerable playing time regardless of who wins the job. Wootton also figures to get some reps at defensive tackle in passing situations like he did last season.
“The big thing is working on my hands and pad level every day,” Wootton said. “It’s a big thing for me, especially because I’m a tall guy. I’m just working on it every day and trying to be the best I can.”
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