The Bears on Sunday bolstered their offense by signing unrestricted free agent receiver Byron Pringle to a one-year contract.
Pringle, 28, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Chiefs after signing with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent in 2018 out of Kansas State.
After missing his entire rookie season due to an injury he sustained in the preseason finale, Pringle appeared in 46 games with eight starts the past three seasons, catching 67 passes for 898 yards and seven touchdowns. He also averaged 26.6 yards with one TD on 37 kickoff returns.
"Byron is a grinder who brings toughness and dependability," said general manager Ryan Poles. "He not only improves our offense, but will also impact our special teams. We would like to thank Jason and Michael Katz at Katz Brothers Sports for helping bring him to Chicago."
Pringle is excited to reunite with Poles, who was the Chiefs' assistant director of player personnel in 2018 when they signed Pringle. Poles remained in that role before becoming Kansas City's executive director of player personnel in 2021.
"I was so happy when Chicago called me," Pringle said Sunday during a Zoom call with the media. "I would always see [Poles] around the facility in Kansas City. He would always have that same positive energy when I saw him inside the facility. He is a great dude. When he reached out to me, he called me with coach [Matt Eberflus], I knew I was going to be coming to Chicago."
Pringle believes that Poles sees the receiver as "somebody that [will] come to work every day ready to compete at a high level and just have that 1-0 mentality of coming to win."
"I don't care about numbers," Pringle said. "I want that letter at the end of the game, that 'W.'"
Pringle is looking forward to playing with second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
"I see him as an elite quarterback," Pringle said. "He definitely knows how to extend plays, and that is something that I did in Kansas City [with Patrick Mahomes]. When the play broke down, I always tried to get in the quarterback's vision. So, with [Fields] being able to keep plays and drives alive, I know I fit perfect in this offense, especially with a quarterback like Justin Fields."
“I don’t care about numbers. I want that letter at the end of the game, that ‘W.'” New Bears WR Byron Pringle
In Kansas City, the percentage of offensive snaps Pringle played nearly doubled each of the last two seasons, from 14 percent in 2019 to 27 percent in 2020 to 49 percent in 2021. The 6-1, 203-pounder made the most of his expanded role last year, establishing career highs with 42 catches, 568 yards and five TDs.
Pringle also appeared in nine postseason games with five starts for the Chiefs, catching 18 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. All three TDs came last year: two in a wild card win over the Steelers and one in a divisional victory over the Bills.
Pringle's emergence in 2021 resulted in part from his determination and perseverance. It's a mentality he's possessed since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent—and missing his entire rookie season with an injury.
"When I went undrafted, I said, 'Whatever team signs me, I'm going to go in and give them my all,'" Pringle said. "Unfortunately, the last preseason game in Kansas City my rookie year I ended up pulling my hamstring. I wasn't down. But I found out I had to have surgery on my hernia. That really brought me down, but I figured I was there for a reason …
"I just kept that mindset: don't worry about the person on the side of you or in front of you or behind you. Keep looking forward and keep going. Hard work pays off. You stay focused at the task at hand. That, to me, is winning games and being a great teammate, a great player for the coaches to coach, on and off the field."