Chicago Bears Rookie Spotlight: Tanner Gentry

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 27: Tanner Gentry
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 27: Tanner Gentry /

From Wyoming to the NFL; Tanner Gentry has had ups and downs

Tanner Gentry continues his quest to be an NFL Receiver
NASHVILLE, TN – AUGUST 27: Tanner Gentry /

Death and taxes.  The old adage holds these two inevitabilities as the only sure things in life.  However, when it comes to the fan base in Chicago, another sure thing is a fringe player attaining a cult-like following.

This year’s rookie is WR Tanner Gentry. Gentry’s pre-draft grade had him pegged as a possible late round pick or free agent.  Gentry’s numbers at Wyoming were solid in 2016: 72 receptions, 1,326 yards and 14 TDs. After the draft the Bears quickly moved in and signed Gentry.

Fans fell in love with Gentry once training camp started in July.  Gentry often made a great catch and the press seemingly reported every grab he made while the team was in Bourbonnais. His ability to adjust to passes while in flight combined with sure hands quickly made him a crowd favorite. Gentry’s ability to catch the long ball was honed well: He led the entire country  with passes thrown more than 20 yards down field last year at Wyoming, as he was targeted 49 times during his senior year.

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During camp last year, all eyes were on Daniel Braverman.  He too was the fan’s pre-season hero.  Braverman is currently out of the league after his brief stay in Chicago one year ago. Like Braverman, Gentry was not given many opportunities during preseason games, and was cut when rosters were set prior to the season opener against Atlanta.  Also like Braverman, Tanner Gentry was added to the Bears practice squad.

Getting a chance

During the Atlanta game, Kevin White was injured and put on season-ending injured reserve.  Tanner Gentry was elevated to the active roster, but played sparingly in the embarrassing loss at Tampa.  He was targeted just 3 times and had two receptions for 27 yards.  He dropped one pass.

Earlier this week, Gentry was waived, but re-signed to the active roster after clearing waivers. Such is the life of NFL fringe player’s.

Next Up

This Sunday, the Bears are home to face the AFC North division-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.  Noon kickoff.