Ola thrilled to be able to chase dream

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by The Newsman, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. The Newsman

    The Newsman Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    ChicagoBears.com News:

    After stints in the UFL, AFL and CFL, Michael Ola is grateful and humble to get a chance to work with the Bears’ starting offensive line and try to earn a roster spot as a backup.

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  2. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    Ola thrilled to be able to chase dream

    Posted 1 hour ago
    By Larry Mayer
    After stints in the UFL, AFL and CFL, Michael Ola is grateful and humble to get a chance to work with the Bears’ starting offensive line and try to earn a roster spot as a backup.

    When Michael Ola[​IMG] was battling for a job with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 2012, he never imagined that two years later he’d be practicing with the Chicago Bears’ starting offensive line.

    But that’s exactly what has transpired in training camp this summer. The 6-4, 312-pounder has lined up with the No. 1 unit at right tackle this week in place of Jordan Mills[​IMG] (foot) after getting reps at right guard earlier in camp when Kyle Long[​IMG] was sidelined with a viral infection.

    [​IMG]
    The Bears claimed guard/tackle Michael Ola off waivers from the Dolphins in May.
    “It’s a great opportunity,” Ola said. “Anytime you get the chance to play with the starters, I mean people spend 2-3-4-5 years, even their whole careers, never getting the chance to practice with these guys, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have pretty much most of camp to get reps here and there with them. So it’s a great opportunity. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

    One glimpse at the unusual path Ola followed to the Bears makes it easy to understand why he appreciates and relishes every practice rep. An undrafted free agent out of Hampton in 2011, he signed with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League following an open tryout. But the franchise folded a month before the season was set to begin.

    Ola then started 11 games with the Jacksonville Sharks in the Arena Football League in 2012 before heading north of the border to join the Alouettes. Montreal’s head coach at the time was Marc Trestman, who happens to be entering his second season in the same role with the Bears.

    “Of course I had aspirations to be here [in the NFL],” Ola said. “But not in my wild dreams [did I think it would happen] because it had eluded me for so long. It just looked like it was something that was far off. But God blessed me and I’m here.”

    The Bears claimed Ola off waivers from the Dolphins in May, ending a five-month stint in Miami.

    Ola is in the mix to earn a backup job with the Bears, in large part due to his versatility. But being able to play more than one position is more a requirement than something he will brag about.

    “I wouldn’t call it pride; I would call it survival mode,” Ola said. “You have to be able to do more than just one thing if you want to make this team. With such a talented offensive line that we have, you have to be able to fill in multiple roles because even our backups, they can do the exact same thing. So it’s basically like I have to get with the times.”

    Ola is thrilled about reuniting with Trestman.

    “He’s absolutely the same man,” Ola said. “One place he’s in Montreal, the next place he’s in Bourbonnais, but he’s the same exact dude. He doesn’t change. He has a philosophy and it’s wired in to him and it’s what got him to this point so I definitely wouldn’t expect him to change.

    “A lot of people might be like, ‘Oh, you’re in the NFL, there’s a certain pressure to adapt to certain things,’ and he might have adapted to four downs instead of three. But as far as him the person, he hasn’t changed. He’s a great man and awesome coach. I really respect him and I thank him for the opportunity.”

    Speaking of opportunities, the Bears’ preseason opener against the Eagles Friday night at Soldier Field doesn’t count in the standings—but don’t tell Ola that it’s meaningless.

    “This is not just a preseason game,” he said. “This is my audition. All the work that I’ve done, this is my time to show what I can do and allow my natural ability to come out and to go full speed against somebody else, and to really show these coaches the things that I have within me to be able to make the Bears a better organization. So I’m going to go out there and try my absolute hardest. This is not just a game for me. This is it.”

    Ola can’t wait to suit up and step onto an NFL field for the first time Friday night.

    “It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I don’t take it for granted. In camp you can kind of get tired with the same old drudgery of coming out and working, but it’s moments like this when I really don’t things for granted because a lot of people won’t even get to this spot and they haven’t been able to. So I’m just so fortunate and blessed to be here right now.

    “No matter what happens I’m definitely going to make the most of my opportunities, and I’m very grateful and humble to be here.”​
  3. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Sounds like a grounded person (not in the same sense that Bennett was when he was tackled).

    I love hearing humble people talk. I hope he makes it.
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  4. billatter

    billatter Veteran

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    He was a backup with Montreal and he started five games, I think, after injuries took out a couple of starters. The smaller CFL roster requires backup linemen to be able to play multiple positions, so perhaps it was that versatility that caused Trestman to bring him in. I assume that he has bulked up from his 278 lb. CFL playing weight, as he has played at over 300. The cardio requirements in the CFL can make it hard for some linemen to maintain their weight when they move north.
  5. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Plus they have to lug around those bigger balls which uses up precious calories...
  6. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Assistant Head Coach SuperFan DBS Writer

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    This is what brought multiple championships in his previous head coaching tenure in the CFL. It is the exact same thing that will bring championships to Chicago. And it is the exact same philosophy that is driving how he's handling the Bennett thing. The Bennett thing is not just about a player (Bennett) getting out of control on a play at training camp. It's about a player (Bennett) challenging the very philosophy that Trestman brings to the table to win here in Chicago. Team > M.Bennett. It's all about the TEAM. Not individual divas.
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  7. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    No, there is no "I" in TEAM. However, there is a "ME" if you move the letters around. But then there is also a "MEAT". And if Bennett keeps up with the ME he may end up being just another slab of MEAT, especially if he doesn't get himself straightened out. You know what butchers do with slabs of meat? Grind 'em up, wrap 'em up and put them on the shelf.
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  8. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Sorry, didn't mean to sidetrack, this thread is about Ola. Guy sounds humble and works hard. Hope he's good enough to make it.

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