The Chicago Bears’ roster shuffle continues with a pair of moves to round out the practice squad.
When tight end Ben Braunecker and linebacker Jonathan Anderson were promoted to the active roster before Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, it opened up a pair of spots on the practice squad. The Bears filled those spots on Monday by re-signing wide receiver Tanner Gentry and adding center Travis Averill. To make additional room on the practice squad, the Bears released receiver Darreus Rogers.
Gentry’s return to the practice squad was inevitable after the team activated receivers Dontrelle Inman and Markus Wheaton to the 46-man game day roster. Gentry made three starts and played more than 92 percent of the team’s offensive snaps during his second stint on the active roster; however, he was targeted just three times and made just one catch (for eight yards) during that stretch. Not quite what anyone was expecting from a player who earned cult hero status as an undrafted free agent rookie who made a splash during training camp and preseason.
If a receiver goes down with an injury between now and season’s end, Gentry will likely get another call-up. Or, perhaps one of the three wide receivers who were at Bears tryouts will force their way onto the roster.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears invited six players for tryouts on Monday, including Averill who signed on with the practice squad. Among the players at Halas Hall for tryouts were wide receivers Demarcus Ayers, Canaan Severin, and Paul Turner. Ayers and Turner have minimal starting experience, while Severin (like Ayers) spent some time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ayers was a seventh-round pick (229th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016. He started one of the two games he appeared in last season, hauling in six of 13 targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. Turner started two of the four games he played with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. The Louisiana Tech product caught nine of 14 targets for 141 yards. Severin, who like Ayers, spent time with the Steelers in 2016. He didn’t play any regular season snaps because he was placed on injured reserve in August 2016. Severin signed on with the New York Giants in 2017, but was waived in September.
The team also had quarterback Taylor Heinicke and guard Darrell Greene in for workouts.