Bears rookie’s mixup helped him impress GM

Bears rookie Darnell Wright passed his conditioning test, all right. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Bears rookie Darnell Wright passed his conditioning test, all right. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles knew his first-round rookie “crushed” his conditioning test.

What offensive tackle Darnell Wright didn’t tell his GM? A misunderstanding helped give him a boost.

Wright, the 10th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, had planned to train hard this summer as he prepared for the pro level. But he ended up training even harder when he followed the wrong set of instructions.

“I was looking at the wide receivers’ running portion of the workout, so I was doing theirs,” Wright laughed during a Friday interview. “And then I came back and obviously we had different stuff. Just more distance in lower time, basically.”

Wright didn’t remember the exact difference in measurement, estimating that receivers were asked to train roughly eight or nine 200-yard sprints in roughly 20 seconds per sprint. He excelled in the metrics he ultimately was tested on, prompting Poles to send him a GIF of Drake clapping furiously at a basketball game.

“He’s an offensive lineman so like you said, a little bit of a nerd with it,” Wright said. “He definitely loves O-linemen.”

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Wright aims to continue cultivating that love with his attention to detail, dropping 16 pounds this summer without losing muscle mass in a shift that he says has allowed him to feel a step quicker without losing power. He’s in second-year left tackle Braxton Jones’ ear “probably more than he wants,” trying to find every edge he can to succeed.

“Coming in as a rookie you just try so hard not to mess up,” Wright said. “You want to not be the typically stupid rookie.”

If such “stupidity” translates to these results, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is all for more of it.

“Well, let’s make sure we make that mistake again, because he came in looking great,” Getsy told Yahoo Sports. “It’s a rookie mistake, classic never-been-there. You show up 20 minutes earlier than you have to and you sit and wait, or an hour early and you’re always waiting. Or you’re nervous you’re missing something all the time.

“That’s the life of a rookie.”

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