Brandon Lloyd Joins Bears!

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By Paul M. Banks

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Wideout back with former coach Ron Turner

Way back in my senior year of college, I made Brandon Lloyd. Well, ok, not really. Not even close for that matter, but I was one of the first journalists to do a feature on him. The freshman from Blue Springs, Missouri came to the Illini instead of Nebraska and converted from corner to receiver during his first year on campus. So you could say I helped discover Brandon Lloyd, as I did a student newspaper feature on him when he was on his way to breaking the Illinois school record for receiving yards as a freshman. This record was broken by Arrelious Benn last season. Nine years later, Lloyd comes to the Bears with one final shot to salvage an NFL career that could best be described as pedestrian.

This signing is highly reminiscent of Kurt Kittner in 2005. Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner finds himself in dire straits at an offensive skill position and brings in an NFL journeyman who also happens to be a collegiate star he coached at Illinois. It just goes to show you that even the NFL has the “it’s all about who you know” ethos of cronyism when it comes to finding a job. Kittner only made the roster because starting QB Rex Grossman went down with an injury. Kurt never played a down and was cut when Rex returned. Kittner did not play in the NFL again. Let’s hope that the Lloyd signing turns out more favorably. Brandon brings a 14.5 yards per catch average on 130 career grabs. While with the Washington Redskins in ’06, he was suspended for a game because he threw his helmet and supposedly said a lot of naughty words to his wide receivers coach. Last season was a complete disaster as Lloyd lost his starting job, went on IR due to a broken collarbone, missed the final seven games and caught a whopping total of two passes. He was released by the Redskins last month, ending a two-year period where he contributed 25 catches, and zero touchdowns.

Before the 2006 season, Washington signed him to a multiyear contract that included $10 million guaranteed. With the Bears he’ll now make the league minimum. He was originally drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round in 2002, and had his best NFL production during his first couple season with the Niners. In San Francisco, he was called out for being too outspoken, especially his criticism of the Niners QBs. (Then again who didn’t criticize the 49ers quarterbacks who preceded Alex Smith this decade?) Brash has always been Lloyd’s style, even in college. But I did find him (in the limited interactions I had with him) to be much nicer and personable than the other athletes on campus. Most of the players don’t go out of their way to say hi to you when you see them on campus, but Lloyd always did. He has a reputation for being outspoken, but that can sometimes be a positive attribute.

A friend of mine had a philosophy class with him at the University of Illinois and often retells the story of how Lloyd defined the term “intrinsic motivation” in class, using his personal views on weightlifting as an example. It sounded like a great definition and might serve as a glimpse into what his true professional work ethic might be. And he’ll need to be extremely motivated, both intrinsically and in regards to external rewards, because this is his last chance in the NFL. He also comes to a team with severe issues at OL, WR, RB, QB…you get the picture. In summation, his positive personal philosophies will certainly be mandated in a unit with little cause for optimism.

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  1. wow you know a lot about illinois football. probably an unhealthy amount!

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