Bears young WR trying to make the cut
Mark Blackfirstname.lastname@example.org Brittan Golden works out during Chicago Bear training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbannais, IL on August 2, 2012,
BOURBONNAIS — It's hard to make a name for yourself when nobody knows your name.
But such is the life of an undrafted rookie in his first NFL training camp, even when he's making the kind of plays that get noticed.
West Texas A&M wide receiver Brittan Golden's game jumped out at position coach Darryl Drake from the start of training camp, when he was singled out as a guy who had made an impression.
The only problem was, Drake referred to the 5-foot-11, 186-pounder as "Golden Brittan."
The important thing is, Drake noticed No. 82 was setting himself apart from a group of young wide receivers, most of whom will be disappointed by the time final cuts are made.
"That's the first time I've heard about it," Golden said of Drake's praise. "It always makes you feel good, but you can't let your head get too big, especially with the position I'm in. You have to come out every day and strive to get better."
Golden, who finished his college career with 3,007 receiving yards, second in school history, has been doing that.
Almost every day he makes observers take notice with big plays and by catching everything within range.
That trend continued during Thursday's practice, when he stretched out to make a reception just in bounds along the sideline. A couple of plays later, Golden made a leaping catch in front of rookie cornerback Greg McCoy, the Bears' seventh-round draft choice from Texas Christian.
"I think I've had a pretty decent camp, but it can always get better," Golden said. "Every day you have to get better because there's always somebody who's better than you or is getting better, (even) if you're not."
It will take an outstanding performance to make the 53-man roster or even the eight-man practice squad from Golden or any of the undrafted, young wideouts.
It's unlikely the Bears will keep more than six on the roster, and it could possibly be five. Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and second-round draft pick Alshon Jeffery are locks.
Unrestricted free-agent pickups Eric Weems and Devin Thomas both have special-teams value.
That leaves last year's undrafted success story Dane Sanzenbacher, Golden, and undrafted rookies Joe Anderson, Terriun Crump and Chris Summers fighting for survival.
"It's definitely going to be an uphill battle for any undrafted guy, especially when you're competing against Marshall and Thomas and Weems and Hester and Bennett," Golden said.
"It's always a longshot, but I don't want to think about it in (those) terms. I want to think about it in terms of what I need to do get where I need to be."
Step One was overcoming the intimidation/awe factor of being in the presence of players like Marshall and Hester.
"I've come from watching these guys on TV and loving their top-10 plays to standing next to them on the field and sitting next to them in meetings," Golden said.
"When you first get here, it's a tough thing. I wake up every morning and think, 'I'm really here. These guys went from my television to right next to me.' But you have to put that aside and know that your job is not to goggle-eye everybody, but to work to get to where they are."
Golden's impressive, early performances on the field have give him a greater sense of belonging, even though he's playing with and against second- and third-teamers.
"You have to have that mindset that you belong here," he said. "Everybody here is a great athlete. If they weren't, they wouldn't be here.
"I just have to keep a steady head and my eyes on the prize."
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