LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Second-year receiver Marquess Wilson laughs thinking back to his rookie season, when he caught just two passes for 13 yards.
Not because he wants more or feels he didn't do enough. It's just that Wilson understands he was blessed with an opportunity to contribute as a rookie, and such prospects will only grow as he enters Year 2 in the NFL with a legitimate shot to win a role as the club's No. 3 receiver.
"I'm glad I got the opportunity to catch a ball. Not many people can say they did that," Wilson said. "Not everybody can get on an NFL field."
Even more can't stick, which is part of the reason Wilson didn't hesitate to accept the invitation of receiver Brandon Marshall to spend a portion of the offseason training with him and fellow receiver Alshon Jeffery in South Florida. Marshall extended the same invitation after Jeffery's rookie season.
When Jeffery returned, he and Marshall quickly teamed to finish 2013 as one of the league's most dynamic duos at receiver. Jeffery and Marshall combined for 2,716 yards, which ranked No. 2 among NFL duos behind Denver's Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker (2,718 yards). The combined production of Jeffery and Marshall in 2014 ranked as the most receiving yards in franchise season history by a duo.
"Brandon invited me and I figured if he took the time to ask me to come, I'd better get down there because he just wants to help me out with my career," Wilson said. "Seeing [Jeffery] went down with Brandon after his rookie season and came back last year and just blew up, just seeing if it worked for him, it could work for me. That gave me confidence going down there with B-Marsh and working with them two."
At the two sessions of organized team activities open to the media, Wilson worked with the starters when the Bears operated out of three-receiver sets. The coaching staff and general manager Phil Emery have indicated Wilson will receive the first opportunity to win the job as the slot receiver.
Now, Wilson just has to seize it, and he has leaned on Jeffery and Marshall for guidance on how to do it.
"It's great. Those two guys are the best in the business," Wilson said. "You've got those two on the outside and me coming in. It could open up a lot. We just feed off each other. If one person makes a play, we're gonna all want to make that play and [that] just [raises] us to another level on the field."
Given the increased expectations and potentially increased role for Wilson in 2014, the No. 1 goal for the receiver between now and the preseason is simply "to be a hard worker," he said.
Is there pressure for 2014?
"No," Wilson said. "If I know my role and if I know the plays, I shouldn't feel pressure. I can't play with pressure. I've got to play with confidence, and that's one mindset I've got to stand by."