Tight end Evan Rodriguez was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The 6’2″ Rodriguez played fullback, H-back and tight end during his time at Temple University.
He reeled in 69 passes for 871 yards and seven receiving touchdowns in 37 games at Temple.
He has a real chance of earning playing time this season. Tight end Kellen Davis was re-signed and will be looked upon as a target. Veteran Matt Spaeth will be used mostly as a blocker.
With all that being said, Bears general manager Phil Emery likes his versatility and said he could be used all over the offense.
Don’t be shocked if he takes a roster spot from steady fullback Tyler Clutts because his potential is so great.
I had the chance to catch up with Evan this week and he talked about a fact most people don’t know about him, his excitement to get on the field with his new teammates and much more.
Here’s the interview with Bears rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez.
BB: Was it always your dream to play in the NFL? Are you excited to be in the city of Chicago playing for such a historic franchise?
ER: Yes, I am definitely excited to be in the NFL. My heroes have always been Sean Taylor, Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice.
BB: What do you feel is your biggest strength?
ER:My versatility, no doubt. I’m a mismatch for defenses and you can basically line me up anywhere on the field.
BB: What do you feel is your biggest weakness?
ER:(laughing) I’ll let you guys figure that out.
BB: What was your favorite moment at Temple either on the field or off?
ER: Coming out of the tunnel on game-day and scoring my first college TD.
BB: Which NFL player do you most compare yourself to on the field?
ER: Aaron Hernandez, because I am versatile and I can do some things he can do. He gave me a better chance of playing the TE position and has helped others take me more seriously now. He has worked hard to make that happen. I have a long way to go myself.
BB: Who is the person that you credit to getting you to this point?
ER: My family, all my coaches, especially my high school football coach Vinny Ascolese.But I could never not mention Coaches like Kevin Bianco & Ralph Marino (HS hoops), Al Golden(Temple), Matt Ruhle (Temple), and Steve Addazio (Temple).
BB: In terms of off the field and personality, what will an NFL franchise be getting with Evan Rodriguez?
ER: I feel I’m a good guy and humble. I get along with people and at the end of the day, when I am on the field it is all business. I am very coachable and I like to be coached hard. I will always be a big part of the community and family is always very important to me.
BB: What does your pregame warmup consist of?
ER: Mostly listening to music, staying to myself, visualizing the game because at that point all my personal prep work is done.
BB: What artists/songs are typically part of your warmup playlist?
ER: Oh definitely my entertainment group New League Nation. TI, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne. For songs New League Nation’s You Can Follow Me There and Nation Under God, Lil Wayne’s We Be Steady Mobbin, TI’s Ready for Whatever.
BB: What is a fact that some people may not know about you?
ER: For seven summers when I was 9-15, I attended two sleep-away camps in Maine, Camp Cedar Camp Wildwood Everyone was pretty much Jewish, but me.
BB: Do you have a nickname that your teammates and friends call you? How did that come about?
ER: Sure, ERod. I was born in the Bronx and grew up across from NYC in North Bergen, NJ. A lot of kids liked A-Rod, so it was a natural thing I guess.
BB: Are you a big social media guy?
ER: Yes I am, but far less than I use to be. Now I just let my manager handle all that so I can concentrate on working out and learning the playbook. I do read the personal messages though and try to respond when I can. Mostly my manager uses Facebook and Twitter as just a news feed really, but I still post pictures on Instagram.
BB: What is your favorite part of football?
ER: Definitely the competition, and winning of course!
BB: Are you glad to be done with the draft process and be part of a team?
ER: Yes, 1000%. It was a huge relief to get a call from & telling me I was chosen, it was like a huge relief off my shoulders. The process of playing the games, doing school work, interviewing agents and financial advisors, doing the combine training and playing in the East-West All-Star game, and all the people chatting me up, it was overwhelming.
BB: Have any of the Bears players contacted you since you came to terms with the team?
ER: No, not yet, but I will meet the guys shortly at mini-camp.