What a difference a year makes for Whitehair – Chicago Bears News

What a difference a year makes for Whitehair – Chicago Bears News

Cody Whitehair arrived at training camp last July as a rookie guard determined to prove himself. This summer he returns as an established starter at a position he never played in college.

The 2016 second-round pick from Kansas State was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team last year after starting all 16 games at center. He was switched to that position about a week before the start of the regular season after the Bears lost center Hroniss Grasu to a torn ACL and signed Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton.

“I was talking to the guys about it, how much easier it is in Year 2 from Year 1,” Whitehair said Saturday in Bourbonnais. “You’ve seen a little bit more, so that transitions over to Year 2.”

Cody Whitehair

Bears center Cody Whitehair walks off the practice field in Bourbonnais.

One of the toughest challenges Whitehair faced last year was contending with the grind of an NFL season.

“They say ‘the rookie wall,’ and obviously you know this season’s a little bit longer than college,” he said. “It’s real. It hits you about Week 12, but that’s something I’ve told the rookies. It’s a real thing. You’re going to hit it. But it’s a matter of how you grind through it.”

Asked how he got past the rookie wall, Whitehair said: “I just leaned on the older guys. Playing helping a little bit, too, week-to-week to try to focus on a different opponent each week as well.”

Whitehair’s focus entering his second season is on improving his footwork. It’s something he continued to work on during the time between the end of the offseason program and the beginning of training camp.

“Those five weeks can either hurt you or…

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