Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton is starting to grow into the nickname he’s always had.
“They call me Coreysaurus, cuz of my height and long neck,” Wootton told me in an exclusive during his days at Northwestern. In 2012, the 6’8″ and lanky Corey Wootton started to play like that ferocious dinosaur nickname on the professional level.
In Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans, Wootton scored his first career touchdown off a blocked punt, which had been blocked by former Northwestern teammate Sherrick McManis.
Wootton had 7 sacks last year and played in all 16 games. He had just one sack his first two NFL seasons. There’s hope that he’ll have a scary carnivorous dinosaur like season as the starting left end opposite Julius Peppers.
Here’s video I shot from field level of Corey Wootton sacking Wisconsin Badgers QB Scott Tolzien at his final collegiate home game. Comes complete with Wildcat “RAR RAR RAR” sound effect!
It wasn’t until 2012 that Corey Wootton finally was playing without the strain of knee injury. The fourth-round pick out (109th overall) suffered meniscus damage in his right knee during the very opening kickoff of the 2011 Bears preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.
The arthroscopy went well, but the Coreysaurus never made it into the main rotation of Ends that season.
“I’ve just been strengthening (the knee), you know the strength isn’t too far away from normal. I started jogging on the treadmill, so I’m hoping to maybe be back in there for the first game, hopefully,” Wootton told me back when the 2011 season approached.
Corey Wootton didn’t do much statistically in ’11 or ’10, but he did come out of nowhere to become the answer to a major NFL trivia question.
Near the end of the 2010 season at the Minnesota Vikings, Corey Wootton slammed Brett Favre to the turf, in that infamous outdoor game on the rock hard frozen turf. He ended the 41-year-old QB’s night and career. Favre left the game with a concussion, and it was the final play of his legendary and storied NFL novel. So Wootton did something that even Jenn Sterger couldn’t do- make Brett Favre really go away.
Wootton only had one sack his first two years with the Chicago Bears; but it was a HUGE ONE.
When he arrived in Bourbonnais for his rookie season with the Bears, Corey himself admitted his knee wasn’t 100%.
However, that knee damage was nowhere near as serious as the ACL tear he suffered in college. Corey Wootton was considered a late first/early second NFL Draft prospect up until he blew out his knee in the 2008 Alamo Bowl vs Mizzou. The injury was so serious that he wasn’t really even close to being himself until mid to late season 2009, and the drop-off in his playing time and numbers severely deflated his draft stock. Corey Wootton’s play regressed considerably and NFL scouts noticed.
But 2010 NFL Draft Day 2 was held on the exact same day as the Northwestern spring game. The college football coach of Corey Wootton, Pat Fitzgerald raved about what a steal the Bears were getting with Coreysaurus being a 4th rounder. Of course, Fitz was going to say that; not just him, but all coaches are all about hyping up their players as much as possible when they move on to the next level.
But now it looks like Corey Wootton could live up to that hype; and maybe even much more this fall for the Chicago Bears.
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Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate. He is also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on FacebookPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks