Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 82 Days with Wendell Davis

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Today marks just 82 days until the start of the 2023 NFL season, meaning that today's Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff will focus on the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 82, wide receiver Wendell Davis.

Wendell Davis's path to the Chicago Bears

Hailing from Shreveport, Louisiana, Wendell Davis attended Fair Park High School, where he excelled on the school's football team. Following his high school career, Davis accepted a scholarship offer from the nearby Louisiana State University.

Upon joining the Tigers, Davis had a solid season as a freshman, hauling in 471 yards and a touchdown on just 31 receptions. Davis earned All-American honors the following season while improving his totals to 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Coming off an All-American year, Davis produced nearly 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns while earning All-American honors for the second straight season. Following this 1987 season, Davis entered the NFL Draft, where he was selected with the 27th overall pick by the Chicago Bears.

Wendell Davis spent six seasons with the Chicago Bears

With the Bears, Davis started his career as a rotational receiver, finding playing time in all 16 games as a rookie despite making zero starts. Davis finished his rookie season with 220 yards on 15 receptions. In his second season with Chicago, Davis began to climb the rankings on the Bears' wide receiver depth chart and even became a starter at the end of the season. Across 14 games with seven starts, Davis ended his second season with nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns.

Wendell Davis
Chicago Bears / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Having cemented himself as a starter during the end of the 1989 season, Davis entered 1990 as one of the team's main targets and turned in his best season at the time with 572 yards and three touchdowns. Starting just 12 games in 1990, Davis for the first, and only, time in his career started all 16 games in '91. A full-time starter that season, Davis put up 945 yards and six touchdowns, both of which are single-season highs for the LSU product.

In 1992, Davis had a similarly productive season with 734 yards and 2 touchdowns in just 15 starts, but unfortunately, there were troubles ahead for Davis and his career in 1993.

The end of Wendell Davis's career and his life in retirement

Davis started the 1993 campaign similar to his recently successful seasons and started in four of the team's first five games with 132 yards to show for it. Unfortunately, on October 10, the Bears were playing the Philadelphia Eagles, and when Davis went out for a route, quarterback Jim Harbaugh threw the receiver a deep pass. While attempting to jump for the ball, Davis's cleats were stuck in the field's astroturf, causing the receiver's patella tendons to tear in both knees.

Davis missed the remainder of the season, being forced into a wheelchair where he had casts on both of his legs. After rehabbing the remainder of the 1993 season and the entirety of 1994, Davis attempted a comeback with the Colts in 1995 but was never able to find the field, and subsequently retired from the NFL.

In six seasons with the Bears, Davis totaled 3,000 yards and 14 touchdowns while starting in 54 of the team's games. Now, Davis is 17th in franchise history in receiving yards and 28th in touchdowns. Since his retirement, Davis spent time as a receivers coach with the 49ers under head coach Mike Singletary but was not retained when former teammate Jim Harbaugh was hired as head coach.

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Today, Davis serves as a Manager of Minority Development at National Material L.P. and also works as an advisor for the NFLPA. Davis remains an active member of his family and community in the greater South Side of Chicago.