Chicago Bears Bernard Berrian lifts up the ball after scoring a touchdown in the final moments of the 4th quarter to tie up the game with the Denver Broncos.
Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer
At his current pace, the Bears' Bernard Berrian will finish the season with 79 catches for 1,087 yards -- big enough numbers to make him a multimillionaire when free agency begins in March.
He doesn't turn 27 until two days after Christmas and has the kind of wicked speed that forces cornerbacks to provide a big cushion in coverage out of respect.
He's the type of receiver the Bears can't afford to lose, given the precarious state of their offense, but he won't come cheaply.
It's a great situation for Berrian, but he says it isn't time yet to even consider the possibilities.
"I don't think about it at all," he said. "I can't think about it at all. That's something to be dealt with after the season's over. It's a little hard to not think about it. But if you're focusing on what you need to do to do your job and playing the game, then you're not going to be thinking about it."
Tonight, Berrian will be working with his third quarterback of the season, as Kyle Orton gets his chance to spark an offense that hasn't had much to brag about besides Berrian's team-best 64 catches, 883 yards and 4 touchdowns. The four-year veteran likes what he's seen from the Bears' third-string quarterback the past two years.
"He's been good," Berrian said. "He's definitely been comfortable, and the best thing is he's been coming around to our (receiver) meetings and going over the little intricate parts of the offense that need discussion."
Berrian was the favorite receiver of Rex Grossman for the first three games of the season, the favorite receiver of Brian Griese for the next 5½ games, the favorite receiver of Grossman again, and he'll probably be Orton's No. 1 target, too.
Despite the revolving door at quarterback and the team's fall from grace, Berrian said he'd like to return to the Bears.
"I'd like to stay here in Chicago," said the California native and Fresno State product. "I like the city, I like what we've got going here, I like the coaches, I like my teammates."
What Berrian doesn't like is the absence of team success, which would have made his personally productive season more meaningful.
"To be honest, I kind of hate it," he said. "When you're having a good season, you would like to have it when the team's winning and it's during a roll. It's kind of hard to sit back and look at it and say, 'Yeah, I played well,' when the team's losing.
"So I kind of look at it as, I really didn't play that well because we're still losing. It's really tough to enjoy it. You can be happy, yeah, but are you really that happy? We're 5-8."