Bears in the Pros

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With 42 active players in the NFL, Cal has the second-most players currently playing on the senior circuit of any Pac-10 team. The Bears had three players (Tyson Alualu, Jahvid Best and Syd'Quan Thompson) from the 2009 team drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft, and six others (Devin Bishop, Nyan Boateng, Brett Johnson, Chet Teofilo, Mike Tepper and Verran Tucker) signed to free agent contracts. And several of them have already made notable contributions. "Bears in the Pros" is a weekly look at how Cal players fairing in their careers after Berkeley.

‑Jahvid Best: The speedy running back wasted little time in showing Detroit Lions fans what he can do, breaking off a 51-yard run against the Cleveland Browns on his only carry of the game and then catching a pass out of the backfield and juking a defender on the very next play. Best has Lions fans excited, which is good because the Lions have not had much to cheer about since Barry Sanders retired. It has not been announced whether or not Best will start the opener against the Chicago Bears, but he will definitely see significant action over the course of the season. After all, head coach Jim Schwartz did offer the press this gem after Detroit drafted Best.

"Some people watch adult videos to get aroused," Schwartz said. "I watch Jahvid Best videos. That's what gets me aroused."

How could he not play him?

‑Syd'Quan Thompson: A series of nagging injuries sank the former Cal defensive back to the seventh round of the NFL Draft. The Denver Broncos selected Thompson with the 243rd overall pick, and after Thompson's performance on Sunday night, he certainly didn't look like seventh-round talent. Thompson returned a punt for 62 yards and followed it with a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving him one of the best performances of any Broncos rookie this preseason. Thompson started for all four years at Cal and was expected to be drafted in the second or third round. Though Thompson compiled a fine senior season, hamstring issues caused him to tumble in the draft. After Sunday night, it's hard to believe that the Broncos are treating him like the average seventh-rounder.

‑Zack Follett: He may have become more famous for jumping in a Lion cage or buying groceries with a football helmet on, but Zack Follett is quickly making a name for himself in Detroit. After an eye-opening rookie season that included one monstrous hit on a kick return, Follett is slotted to start at linebacker for the Lions when they open up in Chicago. With Best, Follett and punter Nick Harris, Cal will offer the Lions options for all parts of the game.


Gabriel Baumgaertner is the sports editor. Contact [email protected]



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