Manning circled Bears game on schedule

Manning circled Bears game on schedule
November 8, 2012, 1:15 pm
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(US Presswire)

Danieal Manning said it’s just like any other game on the schedule.

Then, he admitted it wasn’t.

On Sunday, Manning will play his first game at Soldier Field as a visitor against his former team, the Chicago Bears.

“To be honest with you, I circled this game as soon as the schedule game out,” Manning said. “I circled it and I was excited about it. At the beginning, it started to become personal. Now, it’s just like another game. You’ve got to prepare the same way.”

Manning spent the first five years of his career with the Bears after being drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Abilene Christian. Manning played in 77 games with the Bears.

Plenty of players and coaches are still in Chicago from when Manning played there. In fact, Manning said he was going to call his former teammates after looking at tape on Wednesday.

Aside from some of the same players, head coach Lovie Smith is still in Chicago, where the two forged a tight relationship. When the Bears were working Manning into their nickel package, Smith worked with Manning one-on-one quite a bit.

“He’s one of the best guys you’ll ever be around, just a hard worker, great athlete, just a dream guy to coach,” Smith said. “Danieal, for me, it went way back. I can recall going down personally to work Danieal out at Corsicana High School and his grandfather brought his water jug there for him. Danieal just did everything you want him to do. I saw a special athlete that had a chance to be a real good football player in the league. That’s exactly what he’s doing.”