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.
Reading over this year's undrafted free agent signings, I wonder if the Bears have ever picked up any UDFAs that have had notable careers or made Pro Bowls?
The Bears have unearthed quite a few undrafted free agent gems over the years, including a Hall of Famer and a seven-time Pro Bowler. The Hall of Famer is defensive end Ed Sprinkle, who George Halas once called "the greatest pass rusher I've ever seen." Sprinkle played his entire NFL career for the Bears from 1944-55. He was voted to four Pro Bowls, named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1940s and was part of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2020. Center Jay Hilgenberg joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 1981 and played 11 seasons in Chicago, starting seven straight Pro Bowls. Other top undrafted free agents include receivers Dennis McKinnon and Tom Waddle. A few years ago, I ranked the top 10 undrafted free agents in Bears history. Click through the photos below to check out my list.
Senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 undrafted free agents in Bears history:
I know the Bears didn't draft a quarterback and I'm pretty sure they didn't sign an undrafted free agent. So who played quarterback at the rookie minicamp?
The Bears had two quarterbacks at their rookie minicamp: Ryan Willis, who was one of four first-year pros; and Drew Plitt, who was among 36 undrafted rookies participating on a tryout basis. Willis was signed to the Bears practice squad last Dec. 18 and flexed to the active roster to back up Nick Foles in a Week 16 win in Seattle. Willis then signed a reserve/future contract with the Bears Jan. 11. Plitt played the last five seasons at Ball State, passing for 9,061 yards and 68 touchdowns.
How many punters have the Bears drafted? It seems to me like it's a rare occurrence.
Since the NFL Draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994, the Bears have now selected three punters: Todd Sauerbrun in the second round in 1995, Pat O'Donnell in the sixth round in 2014 and Trenton Gill in the seventh round this year. The only other punter the Bears have drafted since 1987 was Chris Gardocki in the third round in 1991.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.