Players arrive for Bears rookie minicamp

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Halas Hall was teeming with activity on a rainy Thursday as more than 80 NFL hopefuls from across the country arrived for the start of Bears rookie minicamp.

The group included five draft picks, 22 undrafted free agents and 12 first-year Bears players as well as 39 unsigned rookies and six unsigned veterans who will participate in the minicamp on a tryout basis, hoping to earn a contract.

“You get introduced to a million people,” said fourth-round draft pick Riley Ridley, a receiver from Georgia. “I would say it’s almost like the first day of school, but it’s the first day of work, so you have to take advantage of your opportunities.”

After arriving at Halas Hall, the prospects filled out paperwork, got fitted for equipment, received playbooks, posed for headshots and took medical exams.

“It was just surreal because you work for it your whole life,” said cornerback Duke Shelley, a sixth-round pick from Kansas State. “It’s something you dream of doing, so now that it’s actually happening it’s just great. I don’t have words for it, really I don’t.”

The players gathered for dinner and spent an hour listening intently while being addressed by several former Bears. Brian Baschnagel, Alex Brown, Matt Forte, Jay Hilgenberg, Ike Hill, Israel Idonije, Patrick Mannelly, James Thornton, Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Bob Wetoska and James “Big Cat” Williams all discussed what it meant to play for the storied franchise and the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity.

The rookie minicamp will consist of practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The players will be shuttled from a hotel to Halas Hall at 6:45 a.m. and make the return trip at 6 p.m. In between they will practice and attend meetings. The workouts are open to the media, but not the public.

“I’m very excited,” said third-round pick David Montgomery, a running back from Iowa State. “I just want to showcase what I’ve got and be able to do it to the best of my ability.”

Here are the players who are slated to participate in the rookie minicamp:

Draft picks (5)
David Montgomery, third-round running back
Riley Ridley, fourth-round receiver
Duke Shelley, sixth-round cornerback
Kerrith Whyte Jr., seventh-round running back
Stephen Denmark, seventh-round cornerback

Undrafted free agents (22)
Daryle Banfield, Brown defensive end
John Baron II, San Diego State kicker
Alex Bars, Notre Dame guard
Matt Betts, Laval outside linebacker
Blake Blackmar, Baylor guard
Ian Bunning, California tight end
Jomon Dotson, Nevada cornerback
Clifton Duck, Appalachian State cornerback
Emanuel Hall, Missouri receiver
Jonathan Harris, Lindenwood defensive end
Chuck Harris, Buffalo outside linebacker
Thomas Ives, Colgate receiver
Doyin Jibowu, Fort Hays State safety
Joe Lowery, Ohio guard
Lawrence Marshall, Michigan defensive end
Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame center
Adarius Pickett, UCLA safety
Dax Raymond, Utah State tight end
Ellis Richardson, Georgia Southern tight end
Joshua Simmons, Limestone safety
Marquez Tucker, Southern Utah tackle
John Wirtel, Kansas long-snapper 

Bears first-year pros (12)
Abdullah Anderson, nose tackle
Chris Blewitt, kicker
John Franklin III, cornerback
Elliott Fry, kicker
Redford Jones, kicker
Michael Joseph, cornerback
Jonathon Mincy, safety
Ryan Nall, running back
Jameer Thurman, inside linebacker
James Vaughters, outside linebacker
Jordan Williams-Lambert, receiver
Josh Woods, inside linebacker

Unsigned veterans (6)
Austin Allen, quarterback
Will Clarke, defensive end
Jordan McCray, guard
Peter Pujals, quarterback
Quinten Rollins, safety
Jonah Trinnaman, receiver 

Unsigned rookies (39)
Casey Bednarski, Minnesota-Mankato kicker
Antonio Blackmon, Purdue cornerback
Jacob Bobenmoyer, Northern Colorado long-snapper
Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota kicker
Dylan Carroll, Grand Valley State outside linebacker
Kyle Chung, Virginia Tech guard
Daniel Cooney, San Diego tackle
Jalen Dalton, North Carolina defensive end
Malik Davis, Austin Peay safety
Tommy Doles, Northwestern guard
Deondre Douglas, Troy receiver
Spencer Evans, Purdue kicker
Corey Fatony, Missouri punter
Kimoni Fitz, Cincinnati outside linebacker
Anthony Fotu, West Georgia defensive end
Bradley Hale, South Dakota State punter
Zuril Hendrick, Edinboro cornerback
Jesper Horsted, Princeton tight end
Luke Idoni, Central Michigan long-snapper
Chris James, Wisconsin running back
Jordan Jones, Kentucky inside linebacker
Alex Kjellsten, McNeese State punter
Shayne Lawless, Stony Brook inside linebacker
Julian McKnight, North Carolina A&T defensive end
Quentin Moon, Western Illinois inside linebacker
Nick Natour, SMU guard
Elias Nissen, Northern Iowa tight end
Jordan Powell, Widener safety
Spencer Schnell, Illinois State receiver
Ron’Quavion Tarver, Utah State receiver
Pace Temple, Butler receiver
Kenneth Thomas, Louisville guard
Tavares Thomas, Middle Tennessee State running back
Justin Thomas-Thornton, Jacksonville State outside linebacker
Kyle Trout, Cincinnati guard
Joe Walker, Delaware receiver
Dwayne Wallace, Kansas guard
John Yarbrough, Richmond center
Justin Yoon, Notre Dame kicker 

Roster news: In other news Thursday, the Bears released offensive linemen Dejon Allen and Willie Beavers and receiver Cyril Grayson.

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