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updated: 5/12/2014 1:26 PM

Hard way the only way for Jordan Lynch

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  • Although he was not drafted, former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent.

    Although he was not drafted, former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent.
    Associated Press/2013 file


The temptation will be to bet against Jordan Lynch.

It's always there, so why would it be any different this time?

Undrafted, naturally, Lynch has signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent and will have the chance, presumably, to make the football team as a running back, special teams player and maybe even a third or fourth quarterback.

What else is new?

Lynch was told he couldn't play quarterback at the Division I level and he was recruited to play the position by precisely one team.

But Northern Illinois University was the perfect place for him. DeKalb is the Reclamation Center of the Midwest, the place for kids who've been told their entire lives what they can't do, and instead have chosen what they will do.

Jordan Lynch is an NIU kid -- and anyone who spent their formative years there knows precisely what that means.

Lynch was told he was too small to play quarterback, told he couldn't survive at the FBS level and couldn't win at NIU.

Lynch was told the Heisman ceremony was nothing but a pipe dream and he would never play in a BCS bowl game, certainly not while playing in the Mid-American Conference.

Jordan Lynch was told a lot of things, and every time Jordan Lynch said those people were entitled to their opinions, and all he did was work harder, all he did was develop the body of a linebacker designed to withstand the pounding of men 100 pounds heavier and a half-foot taller.

In his first year as a starting quarterback, Lynch broke four NCAA, two MAC and 14 NIU records en route to earning All-America honors as an all-purpose player from AP, and as a quarterback from and

Lynch led NIU (12-2) on a 12-game win streak and the first BCS berth earned by a MAC team. He finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting.

If you're keeping score at home, that's 12 wins, a MAC title and an Orange Bowl in his first season as a starting QB.

In his second year as a starting quarterback, Lynch's 1,920 rushing yards ranked second in the country and broke his NCAA record for QB rushing yards. He accounted for 343 yards per game and was responsible for 48 touchdowns. He was named first team All-America at the all-purpose position by AP, and second-team from USA Today and

And, oh yeah, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting to record the best finish in MAC history, earning the coveted invite to New York.

Jordan Lynch is an NIU kid, so tell him what he can't do and he'll consume it for fuel.

Undrafted? Of course. You would expect nothing less.

Now the Bears have brought him in and will give him a shot to do just about everything, though they think he could have value at running back.

"He's a really fine runner," said Bears GM Phil Emery. "The fact that he can throw and throw with accuracy in a short area is good, too.

"But the thing that I was really impressed with … (was) his skill as a runner. He's got a great set of eyes, very instinctive, especially for a quarterback between the tackles. He just knows where to find the soft spots and take that little sidestep and keep grinding forward. He doesn't go down easy. I like all those things."

If the Bears figure out a way to get the ball in Lynch's hands, he will make plays.

I've always wondered if Lynch could be Julian Edelman, who was a quarterback at Kent State before the Patriots turned him into a slot guy. Last year, Edelman led New England with 105 receptions and 1,056 receiving yards.

Edelman is 5-10, 198. Lynch is 6-0, 216. Edelman ran a 4.52. Lynch ran a 4.65. Both were MAC quarterbacks.

At "Gruden's QB Camp," John Gruden said he would play Lynch at tailback and have him spend time with the receivers while giving him a small package of plays at QB each week and see how he develops.

After putting him under center for the first time, Gruden believes QB is not out of the question for Lynch with proper NFL-type coaching, and teachers don't come any better than Marc Trestman.

Gruden said someone who's creative and deceptive will have a weapon in Lynch.

But go ahead and say that Lynch can't do this, and Lynch can't do that, and then Google two plays of Lynch from the 2013 Ball State game in DeKalb.

On the first one, with NIU down 24-20 and 12 minutes left in the third quarter, on third-and-10 Lynch was stopped at the line. He spun off the first tackle, carried another player on his back, threw him off while another defender hit Lynch. He bounced outside and picked up the first down.

With 6:50 remaining in a tie game, on a third-and-11 he was hit twice on the blitz, escaped to his right and off balance while running, threw across his body 32 yards downfield for a first down to keep the game-winning drive alive.

It's all you'll ever need to know about Lynch.

So he might make it with the Bears. Maybe not. Maybe he'll find the right spot somewhere else, maybe find a team that truly understands who he is and what he represents.

When it happens, whether here or elsewhere, it will happen the Huskie way. It's the hard way. It's always the hard way.

Jordan Lynch doesn't know any other way.

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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