Wootton primed to get more snaps

August, 4, 2011
8/04/11
6:40
PM ET

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Corey Wootton wants to be remembered as more than simply the guy who ended Brett Favre's career.

[+] Enlarge Corey Wootton
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Corey Wootton could be a key player in the Bears' D-line rotation.

"[I hear that] a lot," Wootton said smiling on Thursday. "I want to be known for more than that. I hope to get many more sacks."

Wootton, a 2010 fourth-round draft choice, delivered the final nail in the coffin of Favre's illustrious 20-year NFL career when he slammed the future Hall of Famer into the frigid TCF Bank Stadium turf during the Bears 40-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be the only sack Wootton registered in his rookie year.

"Being a rookie last year was kind of a whirlwind with learning the defense and the expectations," Wootton said. "I just wasn't as confident as I am this year. I think the biggest difference is confidence. The improvements I've made with my strength and my quickness, just getting everything back after my knee surgery."

Health played a role in Wootton's slow start -- he was inactive 10 of the first 12 games in 2010 -- after the former Northwestern defensive end suffered a torn ACL in the 2008 Alamo Bowl. Although Wootton gutted it out during his senior year at Northwestern, his production and draft stock dipped because the knee continued to be a problem. He reported to training camp last summer at less than 100 percent, which was a contributing factor in his slow start in the NFL.

Fast forward one summer, and Wootton looks to be in excellent physical shape after training five days a week and eating healthy during the lockout.

"I like Wootton has done so far in camp," Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's really trimmed himself down. He looks quick, looks fast. He's got great tempo, he's smart. I really think the more you do something, the better you get. Just doing it over and over."

The Bears' defense last year lacked a consistent third defensive end to stick in the rotation with starters Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. The hope is Wootton can fill that void.

"Towards the end of the season I was getting some decent playing time and it was good to be out there and get some experience," Wootton said. "I definitely think it carried over to this year. I'm hoping to be in there [in 2011] and get some more playing time than last year, and just be able to help the team any way I can."

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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