Sunday will mark Kendall Wright’s first trip back to Nashville since he not-so-amicably split with the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 season.
Wright has said he doesn’t want to talk about his time in Tennessee, where injuries and clashes with coaches led to a steady decline in targets and production after a standout 2013 season (139 targets, 94 receptions, 1,079 yards). But it’s easy to compare how he feels practicing with the Bears to how he felt toward the end of his days with the Titans.
“A fresh start is good,” Wright said. “Football is fun again.
“If you don’t have fun playing the game, what the use of you playing? And I didn’t really have too much fun the past few years. But when you’re out here playing and doing what you love to do, it’s fun. So you just gotta keep the game fun.”
Wright was a little more forceful earlier this year.
“What motivates me the most is I probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year and I was playing, like, 10 plays a game,” Wright said during OTAs in June.
But while this weekend’s game against the Titans could seem to be an opportunity for revenge, Wright is more approaching it for what it is — another preseason game to continue to improve with the rest of the first team offense.
Wright caught a touchdown from Glennon Saturday night in Arizona (he also was the target on Glennon’s interception, though that looked to be more on the quarterback than the receiver). And he seems to be clearly ahead of Victor Cruz to be the team’s No. 1 slot receiver — Cruz wasn’t targeted against Arizona, while Wright received three targets.
If the Glennon-led first-team offense is going to have success in the regular season, it needs improvements from every unit — quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line — based on what we’ve seen during the preseason. Perhaps a motivated, fun-having Wright, playing for the same offensive coordinator under which he had his best season, can be a part of that.
“The game of football is supposed to be fun,” Wright said. “Don’t take the fun out of it. You just gotta go out there and have fun and make plays. When you’re making plays, it’s even more fun.”