Bears linebackers in waiting

No rush for Bostic, Greene as they bide their time

Bears outside linebacker Khaseem Greene tackles Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones during the first half Sept. 8 at Soldier Field. The play was called back on a Bengals penalty.
Bears outside linebacker Khaseem Greene tackles Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones during the first half Sept. 8 at Soldier Field. The play was called back on a Bengals penalty.

Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene entered the NFL together at the same position with the same team.

They take extra reps after practice together and, on gamedays, they take a lap around the field a couple hours before kickoff.

“I think it was before the preseason game, I saw him taking a lap. I’m like ‘all right, let me add that to my [routine],’ so I started running with him and next thing we know, we do it every game,” Greene said.

From when they were drafted through the preseason, Bostic and Greene – especially Bostic – received plenty of media attention and then playing time. Since the season has started, though, neither has played a single defensive snap, and they’re keeping each other company as the future Bears linebackers.

“It’s pretty simple. We both came in as rookies, came in as linebackers. We pretty much just do everything together,” Greene said.

The two first met at the scouting combine in Indianapolis and roomed together in a hotel when first arriving in Chicago. In the preseason opener, Bostic returned an interception for a touchdown and Greene led the team with five tackles, including one for a loss.

They exploded on the scene in August, but don’t have to rush their development in the fall with veterans D.J. Williams and James Anderson ahead of them, so they can learn the ropes together.

“We hang out a lot. It helps us with football as well as developing a friendship with one another,” Bostic said. “He knows when I’m out there, there may be one thing I may not remember and he remembers. … You start to learn how each other is and helping our game because we’re growing together.”

They understand the linebacker importance of the position in Chicago, but avoid thinking about the fact that they’re next.

“We never think about that. We definitely don’t talk about it,” Greene said. “Knowing this team in particular is traditionally known for having great linebackers. With us being young guys and being draft picks, everybody might see us going into that role in the future.

“Right now, all we can worry about is knowing our assignments in case somebody goes down and knowing special teams inside and out. … We both know that there’s a tradition of great linebackers playing here, it’s a privilege for us to be here. It’s special.”

The future almost came sooner for Bostic, who started at middle linebacker throughout the preseason, but now cameras don’t swarm him after practice, something he said he doesn’t notice.

“One thing I really learned about [Bostic] is that he’s down to earth, a humble dude,” Greene said. “Some guys get drafted high and some guys get a little of the spotlight. When he tells you that [the media] doesn’t bother him, none of those things really bother him. … It’s good to see how guys can be humble in success.”

Bostic has noticed a similar quality about Greene during their extensive time together.

“You see most guys, if they win some of the awards he won, Defensive Player of the Year for the Big East two years in a row, their head is up here,” Bostic said, pointing to the sky. “For [Greene] to come in and still work like he’s a guy trying to make the team, it blows my mind sometimes.”

They don’t know everything about each other, though. When Greene joked that hundreds of his Twitter followers tweet at him asking to get Bostic on Twitter, the second-round pick interrupted.

“I just got on yesterday,” he said.

“I didn’t even know he was on!” Greene responded.

Maybe Twitter will be Sunday’s topic of conversation when the Bears’ linebackers in waiting take their pregame lap.

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