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Will Tanner Gentry make 53-man roster?

Posted Jul 31, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer answers questions about receiver Tanner Gentry's chances of making the final roster, the last time a tight end led the Bears in receptions and receiving yards and Kyle Fuller pushing for a starting job.



Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.


Undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry has had a fairly strong start to training camp, making some impressive catches. The Wyoming product produced a big play a couple days ago when he hauled in a long pass from fellow rookie Mitch Trubisky down the right sideline. Here’s what coach John Fox had to say about Gentry: “He caught my eye. He’s just a guy that has been productive in college football. He’s just looking for the opportunity and he’s made the most of it so far. He did it in the offseason and he flashes out there even early in camp.” Because Gentry likely won’t be among the Bears’ top three receivers, his best chance to earn a roster spot figures to be on special teams, so if he performs well in that aspect of the game during the preseason, he will greatly enhance his chances of earning a position. I would imagine that Gentry would be a good candidate for the practice squad if he doesn’t make the final 53.


The last time a tight end led the Bears in both receptions and yards receiving was in 1963 when Hall of Famer Mike Ditka accomplished the feat with 59 receptions for 794 yards for a team that won the NFL championship. The last tight end to lead the Bears in receptions was Greg Olsen with 60 in 2009 and the last tight end to top the club in receiving yards was Emery Moorehead with 363 during the strike-shortened 1982 season.

I think it will be a challenge for Kyle Fuller to win a starting job with the presence of free-agent additions Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. But Fuller has been performing well with the No. 1 defense while Cooper recovers from a minor hamstring injury and could provide quality depth if he’s able to remain healthy after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Here’s what coach John Fox said about Fuller on Monday: “Last year was a tough year for him. It was a tough year for everybody. There’s frustration whenever you’re hurt. But he’s battled through that. He’s healthier now. He’s done some exercises to help strengthen it. He’s getting back into it. I like the way he’s looked. It hasn’t been bothersome. He wasn’t able to string too many days of practice together this time a year ago whereas this year he’s able to.”

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