Bears rookie safety Chris Conte celebrated his first NFL interception last Sunday in a way that exhibited his nickname – “Birdman.”
Moments after the Bears starting free safety picked off Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, snatching the rock away from Mike Williams, the Cal product extended his arms like a bird and flapped his wings all the way to the sideline.
It was Conte’s way of displaying the nickname teammate Henry Melton originated on the field.
“We were talking about it — Henry, myself and Corey Wootton — that I had to do something if I made a play,” Conte said. “I had to hit them with the Birdman or something. So, that was my Birdman.
“I don’t know exactly where it came from. You have to ask Henry.”
Melton gave an explanation.
“It was early on, after we broke training camp, that I just started calling him that because it goes with his style of play,” Melton said. “Especially when he breaks to the ball. It’s kind of like he’s gliding.”
Gliding, looking life a safety, the Bears look like they have a player in the former Golden Bear.
“He did a good job, like we expected,” coach Lovie Smith said of Conte. “Everything you’re looking for in a safety, he has.”
For Conte, the release of Chris Harris just shows you the confidence the club has in the third-round pick everyone was bashing back in April.
It looks like we have found a safety that can do the job like expected – and its not the “Chris” many expected at the beginning of the season.