Bears 'reward our own' by bringing Gentry up

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Tanner Gentry (19) catches a pass in the end zone as he scores a touchdown on a 45-yard pass play against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football preseason game Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Tanner Gentry (19) catches a pass in the end zone as he scores a touchdown on a 45-yard pass play against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football preseason game Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/14/2017 7:29 PM

Undrafted wide receiver Tanner Gentry's back-and-forth rookie season took another step forward this week when he was promoted from the practice squad to the Chicago Bears' 53-man roster.

The team's top two wide receivers, Cam Meredith and Kevin White, are on injured reserve, and Markus Wheaton (finger) has not yet been cleared for full participation at practice.

 

Being one of 46 active players on Sunday would be the next step for the 6-foot-2, 209-pound Gentry.

"He has the ability to track the ball in the air," offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. "Obviously we all saw that (in training camp). He's fast. He plays really hard. Sometimes there are guys that have a knack for the football. We feel like Tanner could be that kind of guy."

The Bears could have signed a wide receiver off the street to shore up the position, but they preferred Gentry.

"One of the reasons that we brought him up and didn't go outside the building was his familiarity with the offense, as well as (his) special teams (ability)," coach John Fox said. "We like to reward our own. In this case, he earned it."

Gentry was waived two weeks ago but was quickly re-signed to the practice squad when he cleared waivers.

"Nobody wants to get released," Gentry said. "But I had my mom out here and my fiancée and my little sister, so it was all good. I just kind of waited around and I was very fortunate and thankful to be able to come back here."

Opportunity knocks:

Quarterback Mike Glennon says he enjoyed his four years in Tampa, but not so much that he wanted to remain there as Jameis Winston's backup rather than starting for another team.

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"I wouldn't have minded staying but obviously, as a competitor, you want to go somewhere where you can play," Glennon said. "I have a lot of respect for a lot of people in that building, and I think they're going to be a good football team."

Glennon started 13 times for a 4-12 Bucs as a rookie in 2013 and five times for a 2-14 team the following year. But, after Winston was drafted first overall in 2015, Glennon threw just 11 passes in two years.

The Bucs expressed interest in keeping Glennon as a backup.

"I knew how they felt about me," he said. "They knew how I felt about them and respected them, but they also knew my eagerness to go somewhere to play."

Next man up:

Nick Kwiatkoski is expected to start in place of injured Jerrell Freeman (chest, IR) on Sunday.

"Part of the reason you build depth is for these (situations)," coach John Fox said. "I feel a lot better about Nick right now than I did in that Dallas game last season."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In that Week 3 game, Danny Trevathan was out with ligament damage in his thumb, so Kwiatkoski was thrown in despite having missed almost all of training camp with a hamstring injury. He started six more games late in the season.

"He'll play a big role (Sunday), and I have all the confidence that he'll do fine," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "He came along last year as he played more and more. He's had a good camp for us this year, and I have confidence in him to go in there and do a good job, and nothing will change."

Injury update:

Guard Kyle Long (ankle), wide receiver Markus Wheaton (pinkie), cornerback Prince Amukamara (ankle), running back Jordan Howard (shoulder), safety Deon Bush (hamstring) and linebacker Christian Jones (back) all remained limited on Thursday.

Wide receiver Josh Bellamy was added to that group after tweaking his ankle during practice.

Running back Benny Cunningham (ankle) remained out while safety Adrian Amos (personal) was a full participant.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter at @BobLeGere.

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