Why I Love Marty Booker (and Why You Should Too)
Why should you?
1. Because he loves wearing a Bears uniform. He was drafted by the Bears, played five years, was traded for the good of the team, played four seasons with the Dolphins, and upon being a free agent, do you know what team he wanted to play for? Yup, the Bears.
2. Because, as a wide receiver, he was probably a better QB than Cade McNown...not that it’s saying much.
3. Because he is a good guy. Compared with former Bear players like Tank Johnson and Cedric Benson, Marty is a saint. He does not show up late, he does not talk to the media about how he needs the ball if the Bears want to win, he does not throw fellow players under the bus, oh and he does not have a stash of illegal fire arms in his house.
He is a great example of how an NFL player should act: a good, hardworking, and fearless TEAMMATE.
4. Because the rumor is his hands are the size of dinner plates, and I think that’s true.
5. Because he has succeeded where so many others have failed. For example, David Terrell or Moose, or Bobby Wade, or Justin Gage, or Ahmad Merritt (does anyone else remember this guy? Ran a reverse for like a 50-yard touchdown in the 2001 playoff game where we lost to the Eagles and that was the only thing he did, ever) and Mark Bradley...but really, Terrell is the perfect example.
6. Because he represents what a Chicago Bear football player should be.
Marty Booker started his football career as a quarterback for Jonesboro-Hodge High School in Louisiana and then moved to wide receiver when he attended the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He started three years and capped it off with a senior year stat line: 75 catches, 1,168 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was selected in the third round of the 1999 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears.
After a couple years of developing and learning, Booker exploded in 2001, catching 100 passes, the most catches in a single season by a Chicago Bear, EVER, and he followed that with 97 receptions the next year and a trip to the Pro Bowl.
In only five years with the Bears, Booker climbed to fifth in their history in receptions, 315, and sixth in receiving yards, with 3,684. He even showed some old-school skills, throwing two touchdowns on gimmick plays.
Then, before the 2004 season, Booker and a third-round pick were traded for defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, who was coming off a 15-sack campaign for the Miami Dolphins. The Bears needed defensive ends, and the Dolphins needed a reliable receiver.
So Marty went to Miami, who were just starting to enter the “God we suck” stage of their rebuilding process. He recorded 11 touchdowns in his four years there and provided a sure-handed receiver for a group of quarterbacks that rivaled the Bears in terms of futility during that span.
But now he is back.
After the Bears lost Bernard Berrian and Moose the Douche, there was a gaping hole at receiver. Devin Hester is still learning how to run routes that require him to do more than run as fast as he can towards the opponents end zone.
Rashied Davis has been clutch in the past but is having trouble adjusting to a more prominent role. Brandon Lloyd is a pleasant surprise, but he was basically coming back from the dead after disappearing for the past two years in Washington.
And rookie Earl Bennett has a lot of potential, but he is still a rookie and has still yet to see the field. (I thought Mark Bradley had a lot of upside as well, but Lovie must have thought otherwise.)
But there was still no experience and no leadership at the position, until Marty came back.
And it wasn’t all roses at first. Booker received little playing time in the preseason and questioned what his role was on the team. Coach Lovie Smith assured him that it was more because they knew what Booker could do and they wanted to see how the young players were developing.
However, he still hasn’t gotten a lot of looks, but on Sunday night against the Eagles, he made the most of his chances.
Near the beginning of the second quarter, DeSean Jackson muffed a punt and Bears special teamer Nick Roach recovered the football. After a short run by Forte, the Bears were facing 2nd-and-9 from the 23-yard line. They came out in a single back, three-receivers right, Booker, Greg Olsen, and Des Clark, and one, Brandon Lloyd, to the left.
Kyle Orton took the snap, faded back, looked off safety Brian Dawkins by initially checking Lloyd and then came back and fired a strike to Booker, who just ran a beautiful corner-post route along the right hashmark. He made the catch just inside the end zone and right before Dawkins could get there.
And then it was like the past four years were a mirage. There was Marty Booker, rocking the blue and orange No. 86 and celebrating in the end zone of Soldier Field...right where he belongs.
Welcome back Marty, it’s been too long.
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