LAKE FOREST, Ill. — As if Ka’Deem Carey needed a reminder that he was no longer in the desert, it hit him in fluffy flurries Friday morning.
“I don’t think he ever saw snow before,” joked his Bears roommate, former Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch, a Chicago native. “He had two sweatshirts on coming out, and it wasn’t that bad.”
When the two-time Arizona Wildcats All-American arrived for the first day of the Bears’ rookie mini-camp Friday, he was thrilled to see they were practicing in the Walter Payton Center, the team’s indoor facility.
“Yes, we’re not outside in that cold,” the running back said. “So I can do a good job and show off for the coaches. …
“I was dummy-shocked, man.
“Ain’t nobody told me it was going to be snowing out there.”
Once Carey got indoors, he shined. In the team’s offensive drills, the favorite to win the Bears’ backup job behind Matt Forte showed the electric style that belied his 4.7-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL scouting combine.
“I also think track speed is different than football speed,” he said. “You get on the football field. You have a lot of quickness, you have a lot of moves. You have to get away from people.”
Carey hoped he brought a “lot of energy” to the team’s mini-camp, which ran about 1 hour 45 minutes Friday and continues for the next two days.
“The spirit I bring to the team and the smile I bring,” he said. “I like to have fun out there, and when you’re having fun, a lot of good things happen.”
At one point, coach Marc Trestman cheered one of Carey’s runs.
Carey said he fed off the coaches’ energy.
“When they’re jumping glory like that, it makes me play better,” Carey said, “Want to do better for them.”
Coach Rich Rodriguez’s fast-paced practices and offensive scheme helped prepare him for his first day in the NFL.
“When (the Bears) went to spread,” he said, “it was just like home.”
Another reminder of his Pac-12 career — in which he rushed for a UA-record 4,239 yards and 48 touchdowns over three seasons — lined up across the field.
Former Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton was drafted in the third round, one round before Carey was selected a week ago as the No. 117 overall pick.
Asked about Carey’s size, Sutton smiled.
“I don’t even think he’s little — have you guys seen his traps?” he said. “He’s kinda a big dude.
“He didn’t play like he’s 5-9. Everybody knows what he did in college.
“Just playing against him … he’s somebody, to tackle, you’ve gotta hit him. You’ve gotta bring down with all you can. Just go in there and try to knock him down, because he’s not gonna fall down.”
Carey is trying not to feel the pressure to stand out.
“I like to have fun, and when I have fun, I play my best,” he said. “If I get worked up about trying to compete and trying to show what I got, then I will just show out bad.
“I want to perform how I know how to perform.
“I walk around with a smile, and I have fun, and I perform.”
Still, he couldn’t help but be sentimental when he got his jersey for the first time.
“I just looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘Yes, this is great,’ ” he said. “ ‘Now you’ve got to do some things in this Bears jersey. Now you’ve got to, not just put it on — but you’ve got to get it dirty and get into that end zone.’ ”