Chicago Bears: What does history tell us about converted running backs?

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Chicago Bears, Cordarelle Patterson

Chicago Bears (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Does history support the Chicago Bears converting Cordarrelle Patterson?

The pressure cooker on Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears offense hasn’t yet reached its boiling point, but David Montgomery’s groin injury certainly heats things up a bit. Per NFL Insider Ian Rappaport, the sophomore running back’s recovery time is somewhere between two-to-four weeks — which would be much less alarming if the Bears’ season opener weren’t two weeks away.

The idea of trying to sign a running back, provide him a crash course, and hope he can produce in such a short time frame has been bandied about. But if not, it could mean extended opportunities for the likes of Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, and do-it-all skill player Cordarrelle Patterson.

The Chicago Bears still have Patterson listed as a “wide receiver,” and his jersey number reflects as much. But the “secret” is all but out; he’s spent the lion’s share of this training camp learning the nuances of the running back position — running between the tackles and “A” and “B” gaps instead of just outside sweeps and pass protection assignments.

For Patterson, a player who operated in just 18 percent of the offensive snaps for an awful Chicago Bears offense, it has to be a welcome sign. But, as he makes his transition a different position, what can history tell us about players who’ve had to walk that tightrope and evolve into something else? Here’s a look through NFL history.

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