First-Class Opportunity for Khalil Herbert

Bears rookie running back Khalil Herbert sees a real opportunity to contribute as a return man and a backup running back in his first real job, after driving for Uber
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Khalil Herbert aspires to a higher level at his new job than his last.

The new Bears running back drove for Uber.

"I never shared the aux, um, I mean I didn't have any mint or gum," he said. "I wasn't a high-class Uber. I just kept rolling up. Most of the time it was my teammates."

Now the sixth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech would like to take his new teammates for a ride to the end zone but realizes it's going to probably be on kick return duties initially instead of carrying the ball.

"They really want me to come in here and learn as much as I can, establish a role on special teams," Herbert said. "They're really big on that. So just getting in to special teams, getting in my playbook and learning as much as I can to help contribute to the team in some way or form."

The opportunity is there for a kick returner, and probably less for a running back at the moment. The Bears will audition for Cordarrelle Patterson's replacement and they'll have several options.

"You know I'm trying to help out the team any way possible, whether it be any type of special teams or on offense but kick return is something I pride myself on and I know it can affect the game to start out drives and and help the offense to get field position," Herbert said.

Many recent Bears return men have been receivers. Patterson was a receiver, but they tried to make him into a running back. Herbert sees running back as ideal for return training.

"I fell like I bring a lot, being able to use my vision, you know playing running back being able to set up blocks, break tackles and you know run north to south," he said. "I think it's a really big thing to be able to hit that hole full speed with no fear and go so that's one thing — I feel like all those things help in the kick return game so being able to do that I think helps."

The concern for Herbert now is more on what he can do to help the team instead of why the team won't give him the chance to do it. That was his situation at Kansas as backup to Pooka Williams.

"I had to do what was best for me and at Kansas I just didn’t feel like I was being used properly," he said.

So after 320 rushing attempts and 1,735 yards in parts of four seasons with the Wildcats, he took the college transfer portal to Virginia Tech.

"It's kind of like a form of free agency," Herbert said. "It's weird. It's a new thing that's big now in college football."

An 1,183-yard season and 7.6 yards an attempt later, he's happy he did it.

"Ultimately, I'm grateful for Virginia Tech and all they did," he said. "They put me in the position, really. Hats off to the coaches and my teammates. They put me in position to be able to get the ball in space and do things. Just get the ball in my hands.

That's the biggest thing. They just believed in me and allowed me to play my game."

As a side, Williams never got drafted and went to Cincinnati as a free agent.

Hebert now finds himself a bit in awe at Halas Hall going through rookie camp.

"My friends ask me if it's still hit me," he said. "Every day I feel like, you know, this is my first job and I feel like it's a blessing every day and I'm blessed to be here and happy to be here."

First job, that is, besides driving an Uber without mints, gum or sharing the aux connection.

"Everything here kind of amazes me," he said. "I'm walking around and seeing stuff but just like the facility and everything is top notch."

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