Bill Bentley working diligently following a rookie season that was cut short due to injury

Posted Jun 6, 2013

Second-year pro Bill Bentley focused on improving his craft as training camp nears

Second-year cornerback Bill Bentley is appreciating every minute he's on the field this offseason.

After he was named a starter as a rookie last year, Bentley suffered a shoulder injury and was placed in Injured-Reserve midway through the season.

"It just feels better than anything just to embrace the time being on the field," he said. "I just go out there and try to have fun every play because I missed so much last year and it just took so much out of me."

So much camaraderie takes place on the football field that players often have a tough time when they aren't participating due to injury.

That was the case for Bentley last season.

"I felt like I wasn't a part of anything," he said. "Just to be back out on the field just feels good -- just to be out there as a teammate, just to have fun."

Bentley says the biggest takeaway from his rookie season was the humility that came from dealing with his season-ending injury.

"I feel like I have to give more effort than I did last year after being on top and going to the bottom," he said. "I'm trying to stay humble and keep my mind focused on the prize."

"The prize" equates to playing time -- more specifically a starting spot opposite veteran Chris Houston.

Also competing for that prize are veteran Ron Bartell, Chris Greenwood, Jonte Green and Darius Slay, Detroit's most recent draft choice at the cornerback position.

Bentley isn't focused on competing with his teammates, however, he's focused on himself as a player. He sees each player within the Lions' secondary as a key piece to being successful as a football team and, therefore, doesn't want to look at anyone as a foe.

"He's a fast learner and he's a good student of the game," said Houston of Bentley. "He knows his weaknesses and his strengths and he's working on both of them."

Houston and Bartell have been key resources for all of Detroit's young corners.

"They're both great guys and they teach you the ins and outs of the concepts of the routes and stuff like that," said Bentley. "They help you in any part of your game you need help with. They know so much and they help all the young guys, including me.

"They just try to keep us as one unit."

The Lions' last season exploited the benefit of having unity and cohesion within the secondary. Riddled with injuries, Detroit started seven different combinations of players over the first seven weeks of the season.

"I'm doing great," said Bentley of his physical status. "I'm just going hard at every play with relentless effort; having fun, trying to make plays and know my plays and execute everything to the best of my ability."