Jack Sanborn appeciating moment playing in Bears defense

Sanborn trying to soak in the moment as Bears linebacker originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Jack Sanborn’s had quite the journey this year. It started with the celebration of a Las Vegas Bowl win as a Wisconsin Badger, moved on to the disappointment of sitting through the NFL draft without hearing his name called, then turned to the excitement of signing a free agent deal with his hometown team, the Bears.

The excitement didn’t stop there. Sanborn immediately started turning heads at training camp and buzz began about whether this UDFA had what it takes to make the 53-man roster. Once the preseason rolled around, Sanborn made the most of his opportunities. Over partial playing time in three games, Sanborn notched 14 tackles, one TFL, one interception and one fumble recovery. Coaches gushed about the ball production, and the question changed from “Will Sanborn make the roster?” to “Can he push for a starting SAM linebacker job?”

It took seven weeks, but Sanborn got the opportunity to record a good amount of defensive snaps against the Cowboys. One week later, with Roquan Smith off to Baltimore, Sanborn was promoted to starting MIKE linebacker. One week after that, Sanborn led the Bears with 12 tackles and two sacks. He should’ve had an interception too, but it was taken off the books by an erroneous penalty called on Jaylon Johnson.

The great performance was the culmination of a lot of work, with very little time off. For some players it can be tough to take a step back to reflect on the path from prospect to player, but for Sanborn it’s important.

“It’s something you’ve got to do from time to time because everyone is so focused on getting better, winning the game and everything that comes, because it’s so challenging,” Sanborn said. “I think taking that three seconds, five seconds to really kind of breathe, soak in the moment is something that’s important and something that you can take when you look back and be like, man, I remember that moment.”

Sanborn will have ample opportunities over the second half of the season to continue to make a name for himself in the middle of this defense. For now, he’s just grateful to be a Bear because this is where he feels comfortable.

“I wanted to be in Chicago, I wanted to be a part of this team.”

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