Here we are right in the middle of offseason - the time of year when players are drifting this way and that way, landing new jobs, in new cities, for new teams. As a player, it's a wild experience to go through, and I would know, because I've been one of those guys who's made a move from one market to another.I'll be honest with you... When you're told by management that you're going to another team, it can be a devastating blow. Of course, I can't speak for everybody and say that the same reaction is felt by all players facing this situation, because different moves have different circumstances, but, for me personally, I was none too pleased.
I felt like I was doing everything right in Chicago, because I was playing some pretty good ball. I started a couple years, started in the Super Bowl, got an interception in the Super Bowl -- all seemed well. My first two seasons with the Bears were great, but when I entered the next season's training camp and was told... "Hey -- You're gone -- We just traded you," ...I gotta admit that it was a pretty bittersweet moment.
You know what? <Haha> I wouldn't even say that it was bittersweet. I was really upset!
You gotta realize that I was a young guy when this happened. I was just going into my third year in the league and didn't really understand that the NFL could work like this. I had never gained an appreciation for the business side of the game - all I saw was football, football, football. I was real green and simply could not believe that the Bears had actually let me go.
I had really good friendships with the guys on the team, people in the community, my neighbors, etc. I was truly enjoying myself in Chicago. But, when I got the bad news, all I could think was...
"Dang. They don't want me anymore."
Finally, after a lot of frustration, I realized something...
The Bears hadn't released me. They traded me. I was about to go to a team that did want me.
Even though it had finally clicked that I was still wanted by somebody, I still felt so uneasy about the entire situation that I was almost in tears. I didn't know what to expect from the move I was about to make. I was about to leave my comfort zone, enter a new situation, settle down in a city I was unfamiliar with, and live among people I didn't know.
But look at me now. I can reflect back on that transition and thank God that everything worked out for the best. I've come to Carolina, been given opportunities to showcase my talents, become a starter, and stayed a starter. Ya know... God worked it out the way it was supposed to work out.
But yeah, man... When I was told that I was being bounced from the Bears, I was angry as hell (Ha!). I was confused over my loss of a city and team that I loved. But now - of course - I couldn't be happier to have come to Charlotte to become a Carolina Panther. I love this city; I love my teammates ; and I love playing for all the great people who work upstairs. Everyone who works for this organization and is a fan of this organization is very loyal, just like God knew they would be. He had a plan for me and I'm sooooo glad I followed it.