Tanner Gentry

Tanner Gentry still has much to learn — and earn — with Bears

Tanner Gentry still has much to learn — and earn — with Bears

It only took one week for Tanner Gentry to go from a training camp standout stashed on the practice squad to a member of the Bears’ 53-man roster.

But while Gentry turned heads in Bourbonnais and was on the receiving end of an impressive 45-yard touchdown from Mitchell Trubisky against the Tennessee Titans, he didn’t work much with Mike Glennon. And the Bears continue to talk up Tre McBride, the waiver claim from the Baltimore Ravens who was inactive in Week 1 but could factor into the team’s receiver equation as he learns the team’s offense.  

The point here: Gentry, after earning his way on to the 53-man roster, still has to earn his way into being active on Sunday. Quickly growing his rapport with Glennon is, more narrowly, Gentry’s next step.

“He had a good preseason,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “We just gotta kinda figure out how the numbers are gonna be this week and who's up, who's down. We are excited about what Tanner brings and hopefully we can create a role for him if he's active and playing this week.”

The Bears hope to get Markus Wheaton back soon (he was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday’s injury report, which isn’t a change from last week), and when the speedy former Pittsburgh Steeler does return, he’ll likely join Deonte Thompson, Josh Bellamy and Kendall Wright on the active gameday roster. The Bears could consider making five receivers active on gameday, though they only had four against Atlanta (Thompson, Bellamy, Wright and Kevin White).

The Bears like Gentry’s skillset, particularly his ability to track the ball in the air and his football instincts. "Sometimes there are guys that have a knack for the football, (and) we kinda feel like Tanner could be that kinda guy,” Loggains said. But he still has an uphill climb to make an impact on Sundays, needing to prove to coaches that his pass-catching skills and special teams ability warrant an active spot.

The thing with Gentry, though: He’s constantly fought those uphill battles ever since he was a lightly-recruited athlete in high school (Gentry, according to Rivals.com, only received scholarship offers from Wyoming and Air Force). So this next challenge is more of the same for him.

“I’ll continue to play with that (chip on my shoulder) and always have something to prove out there on the field,” Gentry said. “… It’s a great opportunity. It really sucks to see two great players like that go down and so early in the season as well. I’m just going to prepare and just work hard in practice and continue to better my game and listen to the coaches and do what I’m told.”

Bears suffer another huge loss with Jerrell Freeman going on injured reserve

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AP

Bears suffer another huge loss with Jerrell Freeman going on injured reserve

A day after it was learned that Kevin White was going on injured reserve with a fractured scapula, the Bears suffered another huge loss Tuesday, announcing that linebacker Jerrell Freeman was also placed on injured reserve.

The Bears said only that Freeman suffered an injury in Sunday's season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Monday, head coach John Fox told reporters that Freeman had a self-reported concussion as well as a pectoral muscle injury.

Freeman was one of the better defensive players in the league last season, his first with the Bears. He led the team with 86 total tackles, appearing in 12 games.

Freeman hasn't played an entire 16-game schedule since his second season in the league, 2013 with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bears also made White's move to injured reserve official and announced that wide receiver Tanner Gentry and linebacker Jonathan Anderson were signed to the active roster from the practice squad. Additionally, running back Joshua Rounds and wide receiver Mario Alford were signed to the practice squad, and wide receiver Rueben Randle was released from injured reserve.

Bears promote preseason standout Tanner Gentry to 53-man roster

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AP

Bears promote preseason standout Tanner Gentry to 53-man roster

The Bears' wide-receiver carousel took another spin on Tuesday afternoon.

The Bears announced they've promoted wide receiver Tanner Gentry to the active roster and signed wideout Mario Alford to an already-thin positional group which is already without Cameron Meredith and just lost Kevin White to another potential season-ending injury.

Gentry, who was waived by the Bears and signed to the practice squad earlier this month, had four catches for 77 yards and one touchdown during the preseason. Gentry's touchdown came on a 45-yard pass from rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky against the Tennessee Titans.

Gentry went undrafted last May after a standout four-year career at Wyoming in which he caught 180 passes for 2,125 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Alford, who was White's college teammate at West Virginia, was originally selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Alford's one career catch came during his rookie season with the Bengals. He had eight punt returns for 68 yards and eight kickoff returns for 190 yards with the Cleveland Browns last season. He was waived by the team following the 2017 preseason.

In an additional roster move, the Bears promoted inside linebacker Jonathan Anderson to the active roster and placed Jerrell Freeman on injured reserve.