WMBD/WYZZ-TV - BOURBONNAIS, Ill. - When Tom Nelson signed a contract with Bears in January, it was a dream come true for a guy from the Chicago suburbs.
"I've been a Bears fan for my whole life, so it's an honor and privilidge to put on a Bears uniform," said Nelson, who played his prep football at Hersey High School. "It's a great opportunity. I'm looking to take full advantage of it. It's be great to play in my home state."
Nelson is a defensive back, who plays on special teams. But he says he'd do about anything the Bears ask, if it earns him a spot on the roster.
"Whatever they want me to do. I'm a guy that can do a lot of different things," said Nelson at the Bears training camp. "I'll do whatver they ask of me. That will be my role."
Nelson graduated from Illinois State five years ago. He played two years with the Bengals (2009-10), one year in Philly (2011). But then missed all of last year with an injury.
"I learned to be patuent, that there's a plan for everyone. Hard work pays off,"' said Nelson. "It just reinforced that hard work pays off and good things happen to good people."
Nelson was a star at ISU in the secondary and on special teams. He stays connected to the Redbirds which is another reason he'd love to play in the NFL just three hours away from campus.
"I'll always be a Redbird at heart. I followed their playoff run (to the FCS national quarterfinals) last year," said Nelson. "I still keep in touch with some of those guys down there."
He's recovered from the high ankle sprian that sidelined him last season. Now he just wants a chance to prove it.
"Everything's good," said Nelson. "I just need an opportunity."