Bears reserve tight end Fendi Onobun still hopes to catch on
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter August 26, 2013 10:19PM
Updated: August 26, 2013 11:22PM
Fendi Onobun sat on Martellus Bennett’s imported black leather couch Saturday, a player in need of counsel.
The night before, the Bears reserve tight end dropped two passes, including a sure-fire touchdown, bringing his preseason total to three in five targets. He has yet to catch a pass.
“It’s definitely been a rough [preseason] for me,” Onobun, 26, said Monday after practice at Halas Hall. “Dropped a couple of passes.”
Bennett — who said he talked to Onobun for four hours Saturday — senses he’s trying too hard in games.
“Letting your body do the work and not your mind, that’s what football is really about,” said Bennett, a friend of Onobun’s since they met 12 years ago at Alief Taylor High School in Houston. “A lot of times you get out there and you just start thinking, thinking, thinking.
“I think he lets his mind take over his body.”
It speaks to the 6-6, 260-pounder’s freakish athleticism that he’s still fighting Kyle Adams for the third-string job entering the preseason finale Thursday against the Browns. The Bears trim their roster to 53 players Saturday.
“When things don’t go the way you want it to go, it affects him to another level than it does other guys,” Bennett said. “Brandon Marshall might have a drop, but he could play through it, thinking, ‘I might have one, but I can make 20 more catches in the same game.’
“He’s getting opportunities, and there are going to be more. You can’t stress on that one moment.”
Coach Marc Trestman characterized the drops as a “little batting slump” the Bears “really haven’t seen in practice.” He called Onobun “uncharacteristically inconsistent” in games.
“He’s just got to work through this phase,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘When he gets under the lights, [he has] to play consistently. I think he can do that down the road.”
Onobun spent four years as a power forward at Arizona, appearing in the 2009 Sweet 16, before playing one year of football at Houston. He was selected by the Rams in the sixth round of the 2010 draft.
He has bounced around the league since, stopping in Seattle, Washington, Jacksonville and Buffalo.
His best chance to stick with an NFL team comes this week.
“I’m not going to put any stress on myself,” said Onobun, who has two career catches in four regular-season games. “Obviously, the organization believes in me, to keep me here despite the way that the preseason has gone. . . .
“I do it every day in practice. I’ve just got to transfer it to the games.”