By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Four years ago, then-Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains lined up receiver Kendall Wright all over the field and let him make plays.
Wright was a force in that system, setting a franchise record for receptions in a season with 94 that 2013. A first-round pick in 2012, Wright had emerged into what the Titans had hoped. So the dramatic drop in production that followed for Wright came as a surprise. Beset with injuries and inconsistencies, he found a reduced role and a decline in numbers each season since 2013.
Now, Wright is working with the Bears and out to prove himself after his standing fell in Tennessee.
“Everything motivates me,” Wright said in June’s mini-camp. “What motivates me the most is I probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year and I was probably playing, like, 10 plays a game. But that’s how it goes.
“(The Titans) will feel it after this year. They’ll feel it some type of way after they see.”
Now 27 and entering his sixth NFL season, Wright cleaned out his locker in January knowing well the Titans wouldn’t be re-signing him. He was emotional when addressing reporters about the end of his time in Tennessee. A tenure that began with such promise came to an incomplete ending.
The Bears were eager to sign Wright in March. Their receiving group was severely lacking after the abrupt exit of Alshon Jeffery to Philadelphia in free agency. General manager Ryan Pace brought in Wright believing that he still has potential and that the influence of Loggains would be beneficial.
“He’s got outstanding quickness,” Bears coach John Fox said of Wright. “He has blended in pretty well with us. He’s got good quickness, he’s got a good feel for the game. He’s had good production in our league, albeit not real recent. I like what I’ve seen from him.”
Wright said everything felt comfortable working again with Loggains. The offense is similar to that in which he thrived with in Tennessee, allowing him to play fast in practice. Rather than thinking too much, Wright could go full speed. That gives him an advantage over the other newcomers who are still learning on the fly.
The Bears are in an interesting place at receiver, with Kevin White looking to stay healthy and prove himself after two lost seasons and Cameron Meredith out to show his breakout 2016 wasn’t a fluke. Markus Wheaton and Victor Cruz are among veteran targets also added to the mix.
Then there’s Wright, who very well could still be in the prime of his career. He could also be just an insurance policy to White, but maybe there’s more. Perhaps he could line up outside and be that go-to target for Mike Glennon.
“I’m going to be whatever they need me to be,” Wright said. “I haven’t lost a step like people may think. I can go out there and do as well as anybody out there.”
The Bears would love to see nothing more than for Wright to go out and prove the Titans wrong. Giving a 27-year-old receiver with production in his past is a bet they believe will pay off.
First, Wright must go out and earn his place amid steady competition at receiver. That will be easier said than done.
Wright feels he has said enough.
“I’m really done talking,” he added. “I got to let my game speak for itself. There’s not too much talking that I need to do. I need to go out there and show everybody else what I can do.”