If you caught the sports cover of Thursday’s Chicago Tribune, then you saw a photo that’s an instant classic, one that will stand for all time as one of the best training camp reporting day shots ever.
Josh Bellamy, the sparkplug Chicago Bears wide receiver with all of 19 NFL receptions on his resume, arrived at Olivet Nazarene University wearing a T-shirt bearing his name and a collage of pictures of him playing for the Bears. He also was riding a hoverboard.
This wasn’t just a guy wearing his own jersey T-shirt; Bellamy’s shirt had flair, artistry and a bit of an edge.
When I caught up with him after Thursday’s practice, he happened to be carrying the t-shirt in his backpack. He best explained his motivation for wearing it in a response to a question about how his teammates reacted. He mentioned quarterback Jay Cutler.
“You know Jay,” Bellamy said. “He was like ‘Awwwww, the shirt again.’ But they know what’s up. They know I got the sauce. It’s sauce season, baby.”
It turns out there are four styles in the Bellamy line of t-shirts, which a friend of Bellamy’s from St. Petersburg, Fla., commissioned through a company called Creative Fashions.
One that hasn’t debuted here at camp yet includes the phrase “Club Eleven,” which references Bellamy’s jersey number.
“We just used to be in the (receivers’) meeting room and said it’s ‘Club Eleven,’" Bellamy said, noting Alshon Jeffery helped coin the phrase. “We had a speaker in there. We’d turn up for a second. But right now we’re in grind mode, so there ain’t no Club Eleven right now.”
So it is true that one can be in grind mode during sauce season.
In all seriousness, that’s one way of putting what the new Bears regime has come to like about Bellamy. His energy and enthusiasm, combined with a dedicated work ethic, amount to the type of player coach John Fox covets. It’s a big reason why Bellamy is well positioned to add to his receptions total as part of the Bears’ 53-man roster.
I mean, who doesn't love extra sauce?