When Tanner Gentry was a boy, he would play catch with his dad within the yard of their Colorado home. There was one effortless rule.
Ryan Gentry insisted on it. He was, in any case, was a first-team all-conference receiver at Western State in 1995.
The rule: catch the ball.
“If I might ever drop a pass,” Tanner recalled, “he would threaten to stroll inside.”
Virtually 20 years of time later, it is conspicuous these periods helped spawn a receiver the Bears have come to understand this preseason.
As an undrafted rookie out of Wyoming, Gentry has flashed traits which have propelled him in to rivalry for the 53-man roster when the 1st version is about Sat..
He tracks the ball exceptionally well within the air & is competitive at the catch point. He has dependable hands, &, as he proved in Sun.’s exhibition against the Titans, he can be a vertical threat.
Oh, & it doesn’t injure to be endorsed by the franchise’s quarterback of the longer term. Mitch Trubisky & Gentry have cultivated an evident chemistry this summer time working with the 3rd string.
“He just goes up & gets it,” Trubisky stated. “He does his job & he’s been beating his guy on the surface. The- opportunities he is been given, he is taken benefit of.”
So, after one last probability for Gentry to make his case Thurs. against the Browns, what is going to all in that imply come Sat.’s cut-down deadline?
Yearly, it appears, there is a third- or fourth-string receiver who pushes his means in to the dialog by making plays in training camp. The- position â€” which includes being across the ball & probably scoring â€” naturally commands eyeballs & lends itself to robust impressions.
This summer time, in that receiver has-been Gentry. His 45-yard touchdown from Trubisky against the Titans was merely a carryover of what he has done in practice. In Bourbonnais, he would make highlight-reel catches with regularity, both contorting his body, outmuscling a defensive back or running deep â€” or some combination of the three.
None of that, nevertheless, stunned Mike Grant, the receivers coach Wyoming.
Grant joined in that employees last yr before Gentry’s senior season & quickly identified Gentry as a driven player with an edge to his work ethic. That is frequent for players within the Mountain West Conference, lots of whom have been spurned by Power 5 programs.
However there was more to Gentry’s game.
“I have been doing this for 24 years of time of time,” Grant stated. “I told any scout in that came in right here: This guy has the strongest hands I have ever seen.”
Wyoming’s receivers meeting room has a set of grip strengtheners, these hand-held springy units, for players to use while they sit there.
“We did use these,” Gentry stated. “However truthfully, I feel it is more of a mindset â€” just attacking the ball â€” greater than physical.”
That has surfaced all through the preseason. Whether or not it was outmaneuvering cornerback Kyle Fuller, a former first-round decide, to make an extended catch in practice or being flagged for offensive pass interference while chasing an overthrown long ball from Trubisky within the exhibition against the Cardinals.
So why did all 32 teams pass on him within the draft?
Perhaps his 40-yard dash time within the mid-Four.5s turned teams off. Perhaps it was skepticism about him taking part in in a comparatively little conference. Perhaps it was a query about his route diversity.
However the Bears list him at 6-foot-2 & 209 pounds, a size in that unquestionably doesn’t preclude production within the NFL. At Wyoming’s professional day, he did 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press & had a 38-inch vertical jump. Both would have ranked within the top 4 of the respective class amongst receivers at the mix, still he was not invited.
So Gentry has taken the path less traveled, one thing Grant has used to maintain fueling Gentry’s motivation from afar. The- coach likes to remind him in that Kurt Warner went from being undrafted to having his Hall of Fame enshrinement this summer time.
In the meantime, Gentry senses the work required. The- Bears like him as an efficient straight-ahead runner, which is how he stopped up beneath Trubisky’s long ball against the Titans. However diversifying his route running, notably by sharpening his his breaks, has-been a spotlight for him since Wyoming.
“Dropping my weight at the top, getting low & staying low all through my whole entire route,” Gentry stated. “That has-been one thing I have worked on probably the most.”
Whether or not in that will continue as part of the Bears’ active roster after this current weekend remains to be seen.
The receivers depth chart was skimmed off the top Sun. when Cameron Meredith was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Gentry has played flanker, as Meredith does, along with split complete this preseason. Perhaps that, & his development as a special teams gunner, will assist him within the roster numbers game.
He’ll have a ultimate allege Thurs. night. Another probability to catch the ball.