Jordan Lynch already has his head in Bears’ game
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter May 11, 2014 9:27PM
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch (6)looks to pass during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Jordan Lynch could have waited another five days until he arrived at the Bears’ rookie minicamp. He would have been covered in team-logo gear, T-shirts and shorts and Dri-Fit sweatshirts, evidence of his promotion to the pro ranks.
But the Heisman Trophy finalist from Northern Illinois couldn’t wait. On Sunday morning, he drove to the mall, walked into Lids and purchased a fitted navy Bears cap with a script ‘‘B’’ on the front and an NFL logo on the back.
‘‘I had to get my hands on it,’’ he said Sunday.
The Mount Carmel alum joined his hometown team Saturday night as an undrafted free agent, a move made official, along with eight other signings, on Sunday.
He’ll report to rookie minicamp this week with a new position: running back. Despite Lynch throwing for 6,030 yards and 49 touchdowns in his two seasons as the Huskies’ starter, the Bears found him a more valuable rusher.
When he traveled to Halas Hall for the local pro day last month, Lynch did so as a quarterback. But at the end of the day’s drills, Lynch — who ran for 3,735 yards and 42 scores as a starter — was put through running back drills.
‘‘I’d never really thought about them looking at me as a running back,’’ Lynch said.
On Saturday night, as the draft crawled to a close, coach Marc Trestman called to say the Bears were interested in signing him — as a running back.
It was ‘‘not at all’’ a tough decision, Lynch said.
‘‘I just wanted my shot and my opportunity to be in the NFL, and the Bears were the team,’’ he said. ‘‘I really respect him calling me. That’s where I wanted to be.’’
At the minicamp, Lynch will begin learning the playbook, including pass blocking, something Lynch knows the benefits of but has never done before. He figures he’ll be used on special teams, too.
The other eight undrafted rookie free agents also will try to find a foothold this week. Florida State linebacker Christian Jones, a three-year starter and projected mid-round pick, highlights the Bears’ haul. They signed two more linebackers: Alabama’s Tana Patrick and South Florida’s Devekeyan Lattimore.
The Bears added two guards — Wisconsin’s Ryan Groy and TCU’s James Dunbar — and Temple tackle Cody Booth to work alongside their seventh-round pick, Boise State tackle Charles Leno Jr. They also signed two more defensive tackles: Louisville’s Brandon Dunn and East Carolina’s Lee Pegues.