LAKE FOREST – When Bears cornerback Kindle Vildor was playing high school football in Atlanta, he was a big fan of Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant.
Now, the two are battling for a starting spot on the side opposite cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Trufant, 30, is in his ninth NFL season, while Vildor, 23, begins his second.
“It is crazy,” Trufant said. “You know, a lot of the guys in the room are young. So it is crazy to see how things have progressed in my career and just where I’m at. You know? It’s just a blessing to be here. Those guys, they push me. Every day we push each other. So it’s a great run. Everybody’s cool.”
Trufant (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) was drafted 22nd overall by the Falcons in the 2013 NFL Draft. He played there for seven seasons and spent last year in Detroit. Trufant’s last two seasons have been curtailed by injuries – a broken arm cost him the second half of the 2019 season and a hamstring injury knocked him out of the last four games of 2020.
Trufant missed some time Saturday in Bears training camp at Halas Hall with a thigh injury, but was back getting work in on Sunday.
The Bears signed Trufant to a four-year, $8.16 million deal in March, shortly after the Lions released him. If Trufant is healthy, it could be a beneficial deal for a player who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2015.
“Thankfully, I’m still able to compete and do what I need to do,” Trufant said. “I’m looking forward to competing every day. You just got to stay healthy. I dealt with what I dealt with. I got everything in front of me to go out there and make plays and help the team win. I’m just focused on getting better at something every day and helping the guys out in any way I can. Just go out there and have fun.”
Bears coach Matt Nagy acknowledged that Vildor had a small advantage with not missing time, although the season does not start until Sept. 12 against the Los Angeles Rams.
“It probably just comes down to the availability and just seeing … the more reps you can get and see where they’re at, the better,” Nagy said. “Probably just to keep it simple is your best ability is your availability as you go through this thing and when we have competition, we got to be able to see what guys can do.
“Again, none of it is because of these guys not wanting to be out there. It’s just part of training camp. They’re pushing through and working through it and we just got to adapt.”
Trufant looks forward to lining up with the Bears defense and appreciates what new defensive coordinator Sean Desai is doing with the unit.
“It’s been cool. I really like what we’re doing,” Trufant said. “I really like how he presents everything and breaks everything down. I’m definitely happy to be here. We have fun. We compete. It’s good.
“We just get to make plays, man, at the end of the day. Everybody does their job, plays with relentless effort and everything else will take care of itself. We got a lot of dogs on defense, it’s definitely exciting.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle