Chicago Bears Top 100: #77 Dennis McKinnon
We’re heading into the dog days of the offseason, counting the days until the Chicago Bears 2014 season kicks off. Thanks to Bear Goggles On contributor and the fine editor of Blackhawk Up Keith Schultz’s suggestion, we’re going to do a Top 100 list of the all time Chicago Bears. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down memory lane.
Dennis McKinnon is one of the Bears best undrafted free agents of all time. It was a credit to the Bears scouting staff that they even had McKinnon on their radar as he was barely used in college at Florida St with only 10 catches, 1 TD and no kick or punt returns in 11 games his senior year. They must have seen something in McKinnon because he not only made the team as a rookie but replaced Jeff Fisher and Dennis Gentry as the primary punt returner.
McKinnon had a solid rookie year as the Bears punt returner with 9.6 ypr (13th in league) and a TD, but also contributed as a receiver with 20 catches for 346 yards and 4 TDs. Despite his success as a punt returner, Jeff Fisher took the job back before McKinnon’s 2nd year presumably so he could focus more as a receiver. McKinnon upped his production in year 2 (29, 431, 3) and then had his breakout season with the Bears in 1985.
McKinnon was a major contributor during the Bears championship ’85 campaign leading the team in receiving touchdowns with 7 and finishing 2nd in receiving yards with 555 behind Willie Gault’s 704 yards. McKinnon also caught two TD passes in the Bears 21-0 win over the Giants in their first playoff game.
The ’86 season was lost due to knee surgery and his production was down in ’87 as well, but in 1988 McKinnon had his best season with Bears. He led the Bears in both catches (45) and receiving yards (704) and had a 4 catch, 108 yards, 1 TD game in their divisional playoff win against the Eagles (fog bowl). Like the rest of the Bears, McKinnon got off to a slow start in ’89 and was replaced in the starting lineup late in the season by 2nd year receiver Wendell Davis. That was the beginning of the end for McKinnon and he was let go before the ’90 season.
The Cowboys picked up McKinnon but he played sparingly and only had 14 receptions on the season. He retired before the ’01 season. McKinnon spent six years with the Bears catching 194 passes for 3,012 yards and 26 total touchdowns, not bad for an undrafted free agent.
What do you think of the ranking? Too high? Too low? I guess you’ll have to check back to see who finished ahead of him to judge for yourself. We’ll be counting down a different person each day as we inch our way to the September 7th season opener.