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College football can prepare you for many things. It gets you used to the massive crowds and pageantry of the sport. There is the knowledge of playing on national television and dealing with the grueling practices NFL coaches are certain to employ. Tyler Scott experienced all of that during his time at Cincinnati, enjoying big games in front of big crowds and working as hard as anybody to reach the pro level. However, it didn’t take him long to realize there was one thing college didn’t prepare him for.

NFL hits.

Due to the massive uptick in speed and strength at this level, it’s only natural that guys tend to arrive with far more violence on contact. Scott found that out the hard way. He was mic’d up for his first preseason game by 1920 Football Drive against the Tennessee Titans. The Bears had him back on kick return duties. During the first return, he ran into a scrum and got popped by fellow rookie Otis Reese IV. Back on the sideline, Scott was spotted talking to fellow receiver Isaiah Ford where he admitted he only now realized they hit a lot harder “up here.”

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Tyler Scott now understands a vital NFL lesson.

It’s better to avoid contact at all costs. He doesn’t have the build necessary to handle frequent hits at this level. That is why his speed and quickness will be critical in determining whether he has a successful career with the Bears. His fumble following a reception in the same game was another harsh reminder. Defenders not only hit hard, but they’re always punching at the football too. This is what they’re trained to do. If Scott wants to get meaningful playing time in Chicago, he must learn to handle these realities.

The good news is the rookie is aware of these challenges. Now that he knows, he can make the necessary adjustments to his game to handle them. That means more ball security drills and a great focus on learning to avoid contact. His coaching staff will help him along the way. The Bears have demonstrated a willingness to be patient with young players. Hopefully, Tyler Scott doesn’t get gun-shy whenever he faces contact. The NFL has a way of doing that to people.

Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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