Jordan Lynch played quarterback so well at Northern Illinois that he finished third last season in voting for the Heisman Trophy, college football's highest honor.
Lynch threw 798 passes in his final two years at NIU and completed more than 61 percent of them for 6,030 yards and 49 touchdowns with just 14 interceptions.
But he's not a quarterback anymore.
No, he's a running back and a special teams player trying to make the Bears as an undrafted free agent. Oh, by the way, he also rushed for 3,735 yards and 42 touchdowns in his last two seasons in DeKalb.
After Friday's first day of practice in the Bears' three-day rookie minicamp, coach Marc Trestman was impressed by how well Lynch adapted in Day One of his transformation.
"He didn't look out of place," Trestman said. "Jordan's a real football player, there's no doubt about it."
After playing quarterback for most of the last decade, even before his days at Chicago's Mt. Carmel High School, Lynch was asked half in jest Friday if he already felt like a running back.
"It'll take more than one day," he said with a smile. "But I feel like I'm picking up on the position pretty quick. I did a lot of special teams (Friday). I'm kind of doing whatever it takes to make this team and to help the Chicago Bears."
Lynch might not be completely comfortable yet in his new role, but he's 100 percent on board with the switch. To him, the position doesn't matter as much as getting the opportunity to play in the NFL.
"I played quarterback in high school and college and I had some fun years," he said. "But I'm willing to do whatever it takes just to keep playing football. In the end, if I'm playing football, I'm happy."
For the foreseeable future, most of Lynch's football will be played on special teams. Matt Forte is entrenched as the Bears' featured running back, and they drafted Pac-12 offensive player of the year Ka'Deem Carey in the fourth round out of Arizona. LSU's Michael Ford, an undrafted free agent a year ago, is also in the mix.
"They've got some depth at running back," Lynch said. "They've got some good running backs, and they drafted one. I'm going to do whatever I can to make it as a running back, but early on, I think special teams will be my way (onto the roster)."
Sometimes successful college players are loath to switch positions or to play special teams, but not Lynch.
"It wasn't tough at all," he said. "I'm a football player. I love football, and I'll do whatever it takes to stay in the NFL. A lot of guys (start by) playing special teams early."
Lynch visited Halas Hall a month before the draft for a private workout, and the Bears were impressed with his athleticism. Trestman called him during the seventh round of last Saturday's draft and said the Bears wanted him, even if they went in another direction with their final pick. They did, selecting offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr.
Lynch brings more than athleticism to the Bears. As a quarterback he's always had to work hard in the film room as well as the weight room and the playing field.
"I spent a lot if time in the film room in past years," Lynch said. "I feel like that work ethic is going to carry over to running back, always watching film and try to pick up on little things."
Trestman has noticed that aspect of Lynch's game as well.
"I know he's hungry for information," the Bears' coach said. "He wants to know what we're going to do tomorrow yesterday, and he wants to know what we're going to do three days from now today. He's hungry to learn. He's extremely motivated. He's very smart.
"It's just the first day, but he didn't seem awkward in any way, running and catching the football in space."
And who knows? At some point Lynch could wind up throwing the ball after taking a handoff or from a Wildcat formation. But that's a discussion for another day.
"Later on, if I make my way at running back and on special teams," Lynch said, "I feel like later on there will be other options."
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