Talented Bears rookie Cohen adjusting to newfound fame

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bears rookie RB Tarik Cohen gains yardage against the Green Bay Packers in November, at Soldier Field. Cohen has been blessed with a rare blend of skills, including speed, quickness, agility and vision that make him a dynamic, multiple-threat running back. But he's still getting adjusted to the fame that comes with being one of the most recognizable Bears.

    Bears rookie RB Tarik Cohen gains yardage against the Green Bay Packers in November, at Soldier Field. Cohen has been blessed with a rare blend of skills, including speed, quickness, agility and vision that make him a dynamic, multiple-threat running back. But he's still getting adjusted to the fame that comes with being one of the most recognizable Bears. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/29/2017 9:48 AM

Chicago Bears rookie Tarik Cohen has been blessed with a rare blend of skills, including speed, quickness, agility and vision that make him a dynamic, multiple-threat running back.

But if Cohen could have one super power, it might be invisibility. That way he could be anonymous off the field and everyday tasks wouldn't be so time consuming.

 

"Something what I don't like is the famous aspect," he said, mostly in jest. "I can't go to Walmart. Y'all have got to take pictures or y'all have got to (have me) sign something.

"I wish there was an area where sometimes I could just turn it off, I can just be invisible. I can just go to Walmart and get me some paper towels and not be in there for 30 minutes."

Cohen is the Bears' second-leading rusher with 357 yards on 84 carries for a 4.3-yard average. He's also the team's second-leading pass catcher with 47 receptions and is third with 339 receiving yards (7.2-yard average).

He leads the Bears with 28 punt returns for 259 yards (9.3-yard average) and with 23 kickoff returns for 516 yards (22.4-yard average). He also has thrown 1 pass, a 21-yard touchdown to Zach Miller.

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Nice numbers for a fourth-round draft pick (119th overall) from North Carolina A&T, but Cohen doesn't look at himself as anything special.

"I see myself as a regular person," he said. "I just want everybody else to look at me the same way."

At 5-feet-6 and 179 pounds, that's not happening.

"It's mainly my height," Cohen said of his recognizability. "They see me, and they know it's me automatically. I was at Woodfield Mall (Tuesday), and people were just double-backing on me, double-taking, just looking at me, just automatically spotting me, taking pictures.

"They see a little grown man. (I guess) there's only one little grown man in Chicago right now."

Fellow rookie Mitch Trubisky belongs in the group that believes Cohen is something special.

"He's got the right mentality to play this game," the Bears' quarterback said. "His attitude is probably what's going to carry him the farthest. His ability alone, catching the ball, running the ball, is special, but his attitude is what's going to separate him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"No matter who's up against him (his mindset) is that he's going to be successful and beat the man across from him. When he's running, he's just got that faith, and that's what you want in your teammate, a confident guy who's going to do his job with the mentality of whatever it takes to succeed."

Cohen's lack of size, when it's combined with his elusiveness, can be an advantage on the football field since defenders struggle to get a clean shot on him.

"He's a pretty quick guy," Bears coach John Fox said. "Even though he might be viewed as undersized, he doesn't experience too many direct hits. He's avoided that pretty well. He doesn't put himself in compromising positions, and his mindset has been to take good care of himself.

"He gets plenty of rest, and it's just being a professional."

Cohen hasn't completely avoided the physical abuse that comes with the territory, but he was smart enough to learn early on that the NFL is a dangerous place.

In the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, Cohen rushed five times for 66 yards, including a 46-yard pickup. He also caught 8 passes for 46 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown.

"I feel like the biggest hits I took were in the Atlanta game," Cohen said. "I feel like those were just 'welcome to the NFL' hits. I really got adjusted to the speed and how fast they were going to come at me and the overall impact of the hits, so I feel like I'm pretty adjusted to it."

He's just still getting used to the fame that comes with it.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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