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Bears rookie at OTA when tornado hits near home

The SportsXchange

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Because he's participating in the Chicago Bears' organized team activities, rookie punter Tress Way wasn't at home in Tulsa or at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, when a deadly tornado touched down Monday in Moore.

"Moore is about five minutes from school," Way said Tuesday. "The movie theater that was hit, that's where we all go see our movies. I was in our rookie meeting yesterday, and my phone just kept buzzing. Obviously, I wasn't checking it or anything, but I was really eager to see what happened because we had no idea.

"We had been here all day, and I just started getting text-message pictures from people, and it was just heart-breaking."

Way doesn't have much of a chance to unseat incumbent Adam Podlesh, but the longer he sticks with the Bears, the better chance he has of catching the eye of another NFL team. He wishes he could join the other volunteers who are helping with the recovery.

"I just want to go help," he said. "I texted all the guys from my team back home. I just said, 'Fellas, get down there. Start pulling debris off. They're missing kids. There are families.'

"My fiancee, who's a softball player (at Oklahoma); the softball team started a charity where they're taking in shoes and clothes and everything. What's amazing is that in just a horrible natural disaster like that, God just can bless people by people helping out each other.

"There'd be a lot of times where people are running away from something that horrible, but in Oklahoma City, I heard news reports that they actually had to keep people away from the disaster because people were wanting to help that much. That makes my heart feel a little bit better."

After Thursday's practice, the Bears have the week after Memorial Day off, and Way knows what he'll be doing.

"I'll be going home for Memorial Day weekend," he said. "Anything I can do, whenever I get home, I'll be helping. I'm really encouraged to see everybody that's willing to help."
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