LAKE FOREST, Ill. – New Chicago Bears wide receiver Eddie Royal knows how to make a first impression.
Jay Cutler can vouch for that.
“I remember I the first OTA [in Denver in the spring of 2008]; I think he was on field two because we split fields and he came over to field one with us, and we break the huddle and you see him looking down,” Cutler said at minicamp. “I was like, ‘What is he doing, man?’ So he came back to the huddle and I grabbed his arm and he had wrote down all the plays and what he had for each route. That just tells me it’s important to him. He doesn’t want to mess up. He wants to come out here and do the right things and that is still the same to this day. “
It turned out to be a banner year for Royal. Aided by Cutler’s right arm, Royal rewrote the Denver Broncos’ rookie record book in 2008, catching 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns. Cutler also made the Pro Bowl for the first and only time of his career, throwing for a career-high 4,526 yards.
“It didn’t come easy,” Royal explained. “It wasn’t like we just got on the field and everything just happened. We put in the work, the extra time in the film room, doing all the little things so that it would pay off on Sundays. That hasn’t changed so far. We’re putting in the same amount of work -- if not more -- right now, just trying to do everything that we can do so that we’re successful on Sundays.”
After six seasons apart, Cutler and Royal reunited in Chicago in March when the veteran wideout signed a three-year, $15 million contract with $10 million in guarantees.
The Bears are hopeful that Royal and Cutler can rekindle their chemistry in Chicago. The offseason additions of Royal and rookie wide receiver Kevin White, coupled with holdovers in receiver Alshon Jeffery, tight end Martellus Bennett and tailback Matt Forte, means Cutler should have plenty of offensive weapons to choose from in Adam Gase’s offense.
“Jay is doing a great job so far. If any of us have a question, we can just turn in and ask him, and he knows it right away. You can really tell that he’s putting in the work,” Royal said.
“He’s a family man now. That’s kind of new to me, just seeing him out here last week at our little barbecue with his kids and everything. That’s a different side of him that I’ve never seen. It’s a great side to see, though, because I see what type of father he is. He puts in the work. That hasn’t changed. He’s paying attention to all the little details, and that’s great to see from your quarterback."