J'Marcus Webb may have more reliable personal protection around him than he has provided physical cover for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler over the past three seasons.
In his first interview since being arrested last Sunday night for possessing less than 2.5 grams of marijuana after police pulled him over for speeding, Webb told the Tribune on Friday that he is contrite and plans to be more attentive to the counsel of his older cousin, former NFL great Richmond Webb.
"I plan to see (Richmond) and stay in contact more often," he said.
The charges Webb incurred in downstate Pulaski County were dismissed, but he realizes the negative hit his reputation took because of his misdeeds.
"I sincerely apologize for my selfishness and my action," said Webb, who added that he has been in contact with the Bears since the incident.
Here's hoping the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Richmond and the 6-7, 333-pound J'Marcus will be able to connect eye-to-eye.
"I do have a great team (of supporters) and they keep me protected and they keep me grounded," Webb said. "I really thank them a lot — from Richmond to Father (Rev. Michael) Pfleger to (agents) Kendall and Walt (Cooper). I am just looking forward to making sure my future is bright."
Richmond Webb was a seven-time Pro Bowl tackle with the Dolphins and Bengals who was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the '90s.
"I'm here if he needs to talk about something or if he wants to brainstorm a situation, just based on my past experience playing in the NFL and how to deal with different situations," said Richmond, now in business in Houston. "That's what I can offer him."
Richmond said he did not meet J'Marcus and realize they are cousins until about four years ago.
J'Marcus Webb had more productive performances last season than in his first two NFL campaigns, but he and the entire Bears line experienced frequent lapses in protection. He is in the last year of his rookie contract and faces a crossroad in his career as a new set of coaching eyes will be cast on his performances.
"I am training hard," Webb said. "I am going to do those things that helped me in the early stages of my NFL career to kind of boost me into a great season. I will continue to work on my personal life."
Richmond, 46, thinks J'Marcus' unlikely ascension to a starting left tackle in the NFL is remarkable.
"In his first year, his situation was a little different from mine," Richmond said. "I was a high draft pick (ninth overall in the first round out of Texas A&M) and he was a low (seventh)-round draft pick (from West Texas A&M) who had to get into the right situation at the right time. And the Bears gave him the opportunity.
"What J'Marcus did was he busted his butt and got himself in the best shape possible to give him a chance to make the team. He needs to take that foundation to become the player that we feel he can be in this league.
"Just from talking to him recently, J'Marcus has made his mind up where he could be one of the top tackles in this league if he follows through with what he said. … He understands the opportunity he has. … (Chicago) is a sports town and they love the Bears. If you conduct yourself in the right way, (the fans) are awesome. They will embrace you for life. That is what we have been kind of pounding to him and emphasizing. I think J'Marcus gets that. … I think he is going to become one of the top tackles in the league. He has all the tools."
J'Marcus, 24, is well known for his social media interaction with fans through his self-proclaimed J-Webb Nation. He says that will not change.
"Going into my fourth year … to have the fans on my side … and for me to connect with them on a different level, whether it is through tweeting or being there in person … I want to continue that and hopefully get back into their good graces," he said.