We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Domenik Hixon wasn’t a member of the Chicago Bears for very long, but he may have already set a new record … for the shortest stint in team history. Hixon unfortunately tore his ACL early on during OTAs, the third such injury he’s suffered during his career. He was signed to a one-year contract this offseason in hopes that he would compete with Marquess Wilson and Josh Morgan for the No. 3 receiver spot on the team. The Bears have since terminated Hixon’s contract and the nine-year veteran is reportedly contemplating retirement.
Rather than dwell on the impact that Hixon’s injury could have on the Bears, let’s take a look at some of the other No. 87 receivers in Bears history who just never quite panned out:
- D’Wayne Bates, WR — The former Northwestern Wildcat was the Bears’ third-round pick in the 1999 draft. He tallied just 15 catches in three seasons with the team before finishing up his career in Minnesota. The best season of his career came during his first year with the Vikings, when he tallied 50 catches for 689 yards — more production than his three seasons in Chicago combined.
- Ricky Proehl, WR — Proehl won two Super Bowls during his 17-year career, but neither one came with the Bears. The receiver started 10 games for the team in 1997 and racked up an impressive 58 catches for 753 yards and seven touchdowns. Despite the production, the Bears let him go after just one season.
- Justin Gage, WR – The Bears drafted Gage in the fifth round of the 2003 draft in hopes that he would become a steady No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. Instead, Gage started just 16 games total during his four seasons with the team and totaled a mere 64 catches and four touchdowns during that time. He went on to play for the Tennessee Titans for four more seasons before calling it quits in 2010.
Luckily for Hixon, he won’t go down as the most disappointing No. 87 in Bears history. However, the number now sits in waiting for its next potential victim … er … player.
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th.