Skip to main content
Advertising | The Official Website of the Chicago Bears

Bears Draft Report

Brought to you by

Partnership between Bears, Odunze 'meant to be'


When reacting to different moments in the last 24 hours since being drafted by the Bears ninth overall, receiver Rome Odunze keeps going back to one word: surreal.

Surreal that he will play for the same city his football idol — Devin Hester — built a Hall of Fame career. Surreal that a week ago, Odunze met with his new receiving counterparts DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, along with No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams, for a throwing session in Los Angeles. Surreal that he and Williams were on the same Tuesday flight to Detroit for the draft.

"All of those things are coincidences, right?" Odunze said during his introductory press conference at Halas Hall Friday. "But you start to think about it, and it's like, 'man, is it really a coincidence?' You speak it into existence. All of these different things, these coincidences happen and now I'm here.

"It just makes it that much more special, and it kind of seems like it was meant to be. To be somewhere, to have that history growing up, going to the air show, Devin Hester being my favorite player, first jersey is a Bears jersey in [Brian] Urlacher, it's almost too good to be true."

Along with Odunze's longstanding connections to the Bears, the interest was reciprocated by the team. General manager Ryan Poles told reporters Thursday that assistant general manager Ian Cunningham had to hold him back from trading up and doing "something crazy" to select Odunze.

Odunze felt that mutual connection during his top 30 visit to Halas Hall earlier this month, which elevated the Washington product's desire to hear his name called to Chicago. He appreciated that the team did thorough research on him and understood "what I can bring to the offense and what I can bring to this organization."

"I definitely had the mindset to be happy wherever I went, but in the back of my mind [I knew] the Bears visit went tremendously well," Odunze said. "I came into this facility and the attitude and the effort that they put into my visit and into the conversations that we had was incredible. I knew when that phone call came in, it was from Illinois and that it was going to be the Bears, and I was super excited."

The opportunity to permanently play alongside Williams, Moore and Allen was also a driving force behind Odunze's interest. He noted that the veteran receivers reached out to the rookies in a group chat to congratulate them.

Less than an hour after Odunze crossed the draft stage Thursday night, he reunited with Williams, who snuck up behind the receiver during his Zoom call with Chicago media.

"It's super exciting to be a teammate of his and to be along this journey together," Odunze said. "[It's] something that's special and something that hopefully when we're done with our careers we'll look back as the first moment we realized we were teammates."

Aside from catching passes from the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, what excites Odunze the most about playing with Williams is not having to compete against him again.

While Washington defeated USC 52-42 when the rookies faced off Nov. 4, 2023, Williams put up a stellar performance with 312 passing yards and three touchdowns.

"Very special and a very unique skill set," Odunze said of Williams. "When you watch him play, there are things he can do on the field you don't see any other quarterback doing. He brings a unique skill set. He's very confident in the pocket, very confident extending a play, and the play is never over until the whistle is blown, you know that."

Odunze is excited to assimilate to a new team while being a new cornerstone for a Bears offense that has already been bolstered this offseason with the additions Allen, running back D'Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett.

The Las Vegas native believes the Bears have the weapons to "have a lot of success on offense, put points on the board to win games and play team-oriented football."

"Excited to attack, really," Odunze said. "It really reminds me of all the key pieces that I had in college and the pieces coming together for the incredible seasons that we had. It really has that same feeling, having so many weapons on offense, bringing in a guy like Caleb at the helm of it all allows us to do so many different things. So I'm super excited for the attack mindset that we'll have on offense, the explosiveness we can bring to any football field. I think it will be special."

Related Content