Jack Sanborn reflects on his current success with the Bears

Seven months ago, Jack Sanborn was just a kid from Lake Zurich trying to make it to the pros after a shaky start, going undrafted in the 2022 NFL Draft.

He is now the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

However, he found that the Bears showed as much interest as he did while he was a free agent. What attracted him to the home team?

“I think just kind of a new regime, new people in the building,” Sanborn told Lawrence Holmes on NBC Sports Chicago Unfiltered. “I think a lot of things go into it. But at the end of the day I wanted to be here, I was excited to come here and I think they were pretty happy too.”

They were certainly happy, and so was he.

The freshman played four years in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Wisconsin. He racked up nearly 300 tackles and 11.5 sacks in 38 games.

But hearing his name called on draft day wasn’t enough for him. He was left without a recruit and was forced to look for an employer. For him, there are “pros and cons to both”. But he does not lower his head.

“I think everybody wants to hear their name called for the draft, and that’s what you think about when you’re growing up,” Sanborn said. “But at the end of the day, it wasn’t meant to be. That’s in the past. Now we’re here in November and it’s time to play ball.”

Once in a Bears uniform, Sanborn quickly made his mark.

He delivered a stat-heavy preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded an interception and a fumble recovery in the third quarter that led to a touchdown and a field goal by the Bears, respectively.

Sanborn made the 53-man roster and began to develop under a linebacker group headlined by All-Pro Roquan Smith.

But before the trade deadline, the Bears traded Smith to the Baltimore Ravens for a second and fifth round pick. Sanborn’s name was called in turn.

CONNECTED: Fields has separated shoulder with ‘partially torn ligaments’

“It was kind of surreal and kind of not the way you would want it to go,” Sanborn said when he was told he would be starting. “Just with the whole Roquan situation. He’s such a great guy and he’s not here anymore. I was kind of excited and anxious and all that. But at the same time, it was like, ‘Dang, you’ve got to say goodbye to somebody that you’ve grown close to over the months.’

Since stepping into Smith’s shoes, he’s had the best games of his young career.

Over the past three games, he’s started all three games and racked up 28 tackles, two sacks and one near-interception that was negated by a defensive penalty.

He believes that “experience” has helped him grow at a rapid pace this season and navigate a whole new atmosphere amid the chaos being shuffled off the roster, which also included the trade of Robert Quinn just before the deadline.

Against the Detroit Lions two weeks ago, Sanborn recorded his first sack of Jared Goff. And he didn’t even know it.

“At the time, I don’t even think I really knew that was what he was hearing just because of the way it unfolded,” Sanborn said. “The quarterback was rolling. I’m not 100 percent sure it was close to the line. I wasn’t quite sure where he was.

“Nick [Morrow] came up to me and said, “Do you even know he got his first sack?” He’s like, “I can see it in your eyes that you don’t know.” When I was coming off the pitch, then people were congratulating me and it was pretty sweet. Pretty cool moment.”

Now he marches through the rest of the season with a consistent mindset. He mentioned that taking things “day by day” has helped him.

“I think the main thing is that we have to focus on ourselves and on our work,” Sanborn said.

Click here to follow the Under Center podcast.

Download

Download MyTeams today!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *