Tarik Cohen picks up tips — and the tab — with Benny Cunningham as mentor

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 06:21:41 AM. Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen visited the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute to talk to students about how to prepare for their futures, but he also discussed how some veterans are helping him adjust to the NFL.

Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen was ready to talk to young men at Bronzeville Scholastic Institute Tuesday about preparing for life’s challenges, but he also revealed which teammate has most helped him make the leap to the pro game.

“Really I look at Benny Cunningham for all the advice,” ue. He always tells me I'm just like him when he came in, so I really just look to him,” Cohen said before he sat down with students enrolled in the Becoming a Man program.

Those pro tips come with a cost, though..

“He's my next-door neighbor. He's always over my house eating my food and playing my (video) game. … He try to leech off me. Last time we went out he done ‘forgot’ his wallet accidentally. Rookie duties,though. Rookie duties.”

Cohen also talked to reporters about participating in the Bears School Outreach Program, the recent dip in his game reps and his influences as a teen.

On his impact on the young men at Tuesday’s outreach visit.

“I realize it when I think back and just think about the people who influenced me in my life when I was their age and just look at the people that I looked up to, which were athletes and people with success. That's really the message I need to get across to them. … Nothing worth having is going to come easy. You just gotta work for it and always have a positive mindset day in and day out.”

On getting fewer offensive snaps and touches

“I just feel like defenses are starting to scheme for me so if I get double-teamed it's just going to open things up for other players on the offense. So I'm really happy with that. It's going to open up for Kendall (Wright) to get more catches; Dontrelle (Inman), you see him starting to come on. It's just really going to open our offense up more. Then when everybody rises to that then they won't be able to double-team me. Then you know I'll get more touches as well.”

On making his case to coaches for more playing time

“I'm not saying anything. I have total faith in the offensive coordinator and the head coach, so whatever they want me to do I'm all for it as long as it's benefiting the team.”

On changing his eating habits and making other big adjustments to the

“That McDonald's question is out the window (laughs). I still eat there. McDonald's, Wendy's, Five Guys. I feel like the biggest change (in the NFL), in college I played predominantly (running back), rarely was I out in the slot. Now I'm in the slot more than I'm at running back. That's only the really major change.The players are bigger and faster but that comes with the territory.”

On the slot giving him more room to operate

“Oh yeah, definitely. It also takes less stress on my body because I don't have to deal with them 300-pound guys in there. Get in the slot, (I) work with the DBs and sometimes the linebackers.”

On people he looked up to as a teen

“My favorite player was . And now I'm on a team with (fellow USC Trojans alum) and he just tells me all about him. And I looked up to ( safety) also, like a little after high school. But I get to meet him in the preseason playing against him. And after the game he also messaged me on Twitter.”

Twitter @_phil_thompson

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