Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Bears have invited veteran TE to try it out, could signal a change in the roster: report

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The Chicago Bears took veteran tight end Alex Ellis for a trial, per NFL reporter Aaron Wilson. The Bears were without two of their four top tight ends in their Week 5 win against the Las Vegas Raiders as Jesse James missed the game for personal reasons and JP Holtz was out with a quad injury.

Ellis bringing in suggests that Holtz’s injury could cause him to miss out on some time, with a move to injured reserve on the table. Chicago currently has no TEs on its practice team. So if Holtz switches to IR, expect Chicago to add one. It could be Ellis or someone else, but considering his background, Ellis is a strong candidate.

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Ellis played his college ball at the University of Tennessee and played two seasons with the Volunteers from 2014-2015. He played 14 games, catching only 14 passes for 232 yards and one touchdown. It was primarily used by the Vols in critical blocking situations, and that’s probably how it is used by Matt Nagy and the Bears as well.

The 6-foot-4,245-pound Ellis was signed to the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent rookie in 2016, but he was fired prior to the season and ended up with the Jaguars in Jacksonville shortly afterwards. He made Jacksonville’s active list and played in six games, starting three. He caught three passes for 11 yards and also contributed to special teams.

He spent some time on the New Orleans Saints’ training team in 2017 and made it onto the Kansas City Chiefs roster the following 2018, playing in two games and not recording stats. He spent the 2019 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played three games. Ellis has not played since the 2019 season, apart from very brief appearances with the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders. If the bears liked what they saw and Holtz goes on IR, don’t be surprised if Chicago brings him on their practice team for more depth.

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The Bears signed Jesper Horsted as UDFA in 2019 as a Princeton UDFA, and he eventually made the roster, playing in six games, catching eight passes for 87 yards and one score as a rookie. He made it into Chicago’s training squad the following season, but earned a spot on the team’s squad again that year after a stellar preseason in which he caught three TDs in one game. Horsted has only played one game this year and caught a pass for a touchdown against Raiders Week 5.

Horsted has established himself as a solid red zone threat and Holtz’s absence could open up more opportunities for him. Horsted played in college wide receiver, but switched to tight end when entering the NFL and has shown enormous potential in this position. We’ll see if he gets more snapshots in the next few weeks.

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