Bears special teams ace Eric Weems isn't afraid to bare his personality. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago…)
This preseason, while asking Bears to name the special teams teammate they were most excited to watch, Eric Weems' name kept coming up. And while he is a joy to watch on the field, Weems also never bottles up his personality, which is a quality reporters love. In honor of Weems, here are 14 facts about No. 14.
1. He's 5-foot-8. Raise your hand if you are 5-8 or shorter. OK, now leave it up if you are a pro football player. Your hand just went down? Mine too! I know he's listed at 5-9, but trust me, I've stood eye to eye with this man, and I am definitely not 5-9.
2. He's an underdog. And not just because he's 5-8. Undrafted out of college, Weems caught on with the Atlanta Falcons and blossomed into an All Pro return man.
3. He's an NFL record holder. In January 2011, Weems returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, the longest play in NFL postseason history. And he did it against Green Bay!
4. He's versatile. Weems is the Bears' leader with eight solo special teams tackles, is second behind Devin Hester with 12 kick returns and plays receiver in a pinch.
5. Five words: Soccer HORSE, Laundry Basket PIG. Weems is an innovator in locker room games, including Soccer HORSE (like regular HORSE, but with soccer) and Laundry Basket PIG (like basketball, but with a kickball and a laundry basket).
6. He's not afraid of Brian Urlacher. In ping-pong, that is. Urlacher is the widely credited (and self-acknowledged) king of Bears ping-pong. Said Weems: "I'm No. 1. Urlacher doesn't stand a chance against me, so don't listen to him. He's No. 2, if that. He may be 3."
7. He's not afraid of Hester. In pool, that is. "Pool? They don't stand a chance. All the other guys try to beat me, but I'm waiting to play Hester. Hester says he's the best. I'm gonna see what he's about."
8. He understands the value of team-building. Why all the games? Because they help players "come together as a team." The Bears have a close-knit locker room, to which Weems has added immensely. "They have fun here," he said. "Guys stay together on and off the field."
9. He's not afraid to take risks and admit mistakes. During the bye week, Weems grew a mohawk just for the hell of it. But after the loss to Minnesota, he shaved it. "We went on sort of a losing streak with the mohawk," he said, "so I got rid of it."
10. You might see him downtown, shopping for shoes. Weems, a Florida native, likes Chicago's downtown because there is "a lot of sightseeing." (He doesn't have any favorite restaurants, so suggest one @ericweems) Mostly though, he loves downtown because he loves sneakers, such as …
11. … Jordans & D-Roses. Like every sneaker head, Weems collects Jordans. But he also owns several pairs of D-Roses, including a pair he bought prior to coming to Chicago.
12. He photobombs teammates while they're sleeping. Then he shares the pics on Twitter. This means you, Major Wright and J.T. Thomas.
13. Like Walter Payton, Weems is always looking to hit somebody. "Giving a big hit is more like the relief of giving the hit," he said. And taking a big hit? "You don't see it coming. It's like a surprise. I would rather surprise a person with the big hit than get the hit. ... [It's] the best way to play the game. It's either hit or be hit, and you want to hit."
14. He is impressed by the passion of Bears fans. They are "crazy," he said, "crazy in a good way. I've never seen nothing like it. My first preseason game, [Soldier Field] was filled. And I was like, 'Whoa, in a preseason game?' And they were like, 'You haven't seen nothing yet. Wait until the season.' And in the season, it never failed: crowded."
Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. Say hey @readjack.
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