Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery Showing Positive Signs Early

Louis Musto@LouisMustoContributor IIIMay 10, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 02: Alshon Jeffery #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks makes a catch during the Capitol One Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Florida Citrus Bowl on January 2, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For a man who has been knocked for his poor work ethic, second-round draft pick Alshon Jeffery made an interesting decision when he declared he would not attend the NFLPA's Rookie Premiere—an opportunity to schmooze potential sponsors—in favor of participating in the Chicago Bears' offseason program.

According to PFT's Michael David Smith, however, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has said all players invited to the event must attend the event.

The invitation is an interesting one, considering it becomes a requirement to appear the moment it has been extended. Fortunately, it is unclear whether there would be any sort of punishment should Jeffery choose not to attend, and frankly, it will be wildly impressive of him if he truly chooses not to.

The former Gamecock fell into the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft after being projected as one of the top receivers in this year's class earlier in the season. Many of the concerns surrounded his work ethic and conditioning, citing his bloated playing weight during the 2011 season; Jeffery weighed in around the 230s and saw his play affected because of it.

Jeffery's desire to get into camp and work with the team is a positive sign. The only way he can truly be effective is by keeping his weight down, enabling him to use his size and speed to the best of his ability.

Playing opposite Pro Bowl MVP Brandon Marshall, Jeffery can step in and make an immediate impact for the Bears offense if he puts the work in. He provides a viable option in the red zone for a passing offense that finished 24th in the NFL with just 18 touchdowns last season.

Jeffery is intent on being the player he is capable of being in the NFL. He has been hard at work since being drafted, working out with third-string quarterback Josh McCown in South Carolina as he waits for the Bears' offseason workout program to begin next week.

"I feel like he's got a chip on his shoulder to come out and prove people wrong," fellow Bears receiver Earl Bennett said in an interview on ESPN 1000's Carmen, Jurko and Harry Show.

If a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to the detractors are what this rookie needs to develop into one of the league's top receivers, then Jeffery is off on the right foot. Prioritizing his team and getting in shape before endorsement riches is an inspiring start to this young man's NFL career.


Louis Musto is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.