Paea's bench press an eye-opener

April, 30, 2011
4/30/11
6:18
PM ET
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Being able to pull off amazing feats of strength and athleticism doesn’t necessarily mean a player will have a productive NFL career.

After all, former Chicago Bears 2009 third-round pick Jarron Gilbert was once an internet sensation for jumping out of a pool.

But it should be mentioned that 2011 second-round draft choice Stephen Paea set the all-time record on the bench press during the NFL Combine, when the defensive tackle completed an astounding 49 reps at 225 pounds.

"I feel like the bench press was something that was in my back pocket," Paea said Saturday during a visit to Halas Hall. "When I watched the replay after, all the media guys were saying I was going to be a true nose tackle. But in my mind, strength is my Plan B. As far as quickness, that's what I feel I can bring to the game.

Ironically, Paea was only able to participate in the bench press at the combine because of an offseason knee scope.

"I only had a month of training because I came back from that knee surgery," Paea said. "I only had that one event with the bench so I might as well put 100 percent into it."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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