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Roster Moves: Bears sign Peterman and Taylor, add four to practice squad, place Jenkins and Kramer on IR

Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman and new receiver/returner Trent Taylor
Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman and new receiver/returner Trent Taylor

The Bears on Thursday made the following roster moves:

• Signed quarterback Nathan Peterman and receiver/return specialist Trent Taylor to the active roster.

Peterman returns to the active roster after he was released as part of final cuts Tuesday. Last season, Peterman appeared in three games with one start, completing 14 of 25 passes for 139 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 68.6 passer rating.

Peterman also played in the Bears' first two preseason games, completing 14 of 24 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.

Taylor, 29, was released by the Bengals Tuesday. He has appeared in 61 NFL games with three starts over five seasons with the 49ers (2017-2020) and Bengals (2021-22). He has caught 87 passes for 834 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 9.7 yards on 89 punt returns. The 5-8, 181-pounder also played in seven postseason games with the Bengals, including Super Bowl LVI versus the Rams to cap the 2021 season.

General manager Ryan Poles told reporters that Taylor will open the season as the Bears' primary punt returner.

"Consistency, that's the biggest thing," Poles said. "When the ball gets punted, you can go grab a snack and go to the bathroom and come back and you feel confident about it. That's the biggest part."

While Taylor will handle punts in games, the Bears will continue to hone the punt-return skills of Velus Jones Jr. and rookie Tyler Scott in practice. Jones played in the preseason opener but missed the next two contests with an undisclosed injury.

"We've got to get Velus comfortable in that position," Poles said. "The injury kind of hurt; the two preseason games where he could get more reps so we could feel comfortable, he could feel comfortable moving forward. But we believe in those guys and we're going to keep pouring into them to improve."

Taylor was selected by San Francisco in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Louisiana Tech. As a rookie, he caught 43 passes for 430 yards and two TDs—all of which remain his career highs. In all four of Taylor's season with the 49ers, Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower served as San Francisco's assistant special teams coach.

Taylor played primarily on special teams the past two seasons with the Bengals, averaging 9.8 yards on 40 punt returns.

Because he's a vested veteran (with more than four accrued NFL seasons), Taylor did not go through the waiver process and was allowed to sign with any NFL team immediately after being released by the Bengals.

• Added four players to the practice squad.

Defensive linemen Deslin Alexandre and Daniel Hardy, offensive lineman Bill Murray and kicker John Parker Romo have all been added to the practice squad.

Alexandre signed with the Jets earlier this year as an undrafted free agent. The Pittsburgh product was waived as part of final cuts.

Hardy was selected in the seventh round of last year's draft out of Montana State by the Rams. He played in six games for Los Angeles last season, recording four tackles.

Murray was waived by the Patriots Tuesday. The 6-4, 280-pounder has spent most of the last three seasons on New England's practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent out of William & Mary in 2020. He played in one game for New England last season.

Romo signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech last season. He then signed with the San Antonio Brahamas of the XFL, playing in 10 games and connecting on 17 of his 19 field-goal attempts. He was named to the All-XFL team at the conclusion of the season. He signed with the Lions in May but was released Monday.

The Bears still have two spots to fill on their practice squad. They receive an exemption for an extra 17th player for offensive lineman Roy Mbaeteka because he was added to the roster through the NFL's International Player Pathway Program.

• Placed offensive linemen Teven Jenkins and Doug Kramer Jr. on injured reserve.

Both Jenkins and Kramer will miss at least the first four games of the season. Poles revealed to reporters Wednesday that Jenkins would be placed on IR.

"I'm not going to get into details with [the injury], but we feel like it's a week-to-week thing," Poles said. "Not too serious. He'll be designated for return and then when he comes back, he should be good to go."

Poles also told reporters Wednesday the Bears are in the process of determining who they'll start at guard and center.

"That's one of the things we're working on right now," Poles said. "It's fluid right now. By the time we get into next week, I'm sure we'll have that thing solidified, which is important too. The one thing I'll say just about the injuries in general is you get these opportunities to plug these other guys in, because that's what's going to happen during the season. So we've been able to move guys around a little bit and get experience because if we have to do that in the season, we should be in a better position."

One player who will compete for playing time along the offensive line is veteran Dan Feeney, who the Bears acquired Tuesday in a trade with the Dolphins.

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