The Chicago Bears added three players to the 53-man roster after cutdowns on August 30.
All three of those players – Khalid Kareem, Trent Taylor, and Dan Feeney – met with the media on August 31 to introduce themselves.
Khalid Kareem, Trent Taylor, and Dan Feeney Speak With Bears Media
Another Golden Domer
Kareem is a 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end whose modest stats so far belied what the Bears saw in him during joint practices.
Asked what kind of player the Bears are getting, Kareem pointed to hard work.
“Hard worker,” Kareem said. “I’m gonna come in here every day with that mindset. I have to prove why I’m here, and just have to earn it, honestly. Gritty guy, blue-collar. So that’s really all I know is hard work.”
— ImBearingDown (@ImBearingDown) August 30, 2023
After Wednesday’s practice, tight end Cole Kmet was asked about Kareem, noting that he was another “Golden Domer”, or Notre Dame alum, on the roster. The Bears now roster four former Notre Dame players in tight ends Kareem and Kmet as well as wide receivers Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown.
They also rostered offensive linemen Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher last season
It might not be an accident with head coach Matt Eberflus noting they appreciate the passion the players who grew up in the area have for the organization.
Confidence is Key in the Return Game
The Bears signed Trent Taylor to handle punt return duties after he was cut by the Bengals, to his surprise. Taylor told reporters that the Bears were the first team to reach out to him. On Wednesday, general manager Ryan Poles cited Taylor’s reliability as a returner. He also said that the team was working to get Velus Jones Jr.’s confidence back.
Taylor cited confidence as part of the key to being a good returner. Asked how can a player do that without in-game reps, Taylor said it’s about one’s approach to life.
“I mean it’s just really the way that you go about your life,” he said. “I think something that I feel like that has been good for me, just as a human in general, is learning to control what I can control, and not let outside things affect me.”
Trent Taylor WR Highlights.
Don’t expect him to get a bunch of snaps, but he is a quick guy who can make a splash every now and then
Again his main role will be returning Punts. This is your Dante Pettis Replacement pic.twitter.com/1lTLq4f9z8
— DeeksView (@DeeksViewOG) August 30, 2023
This isn’t just sound advice for punt returners either.
“I think that kind of stuff kind of goes a long way for anybody in the NFL who you don’t worry about things that have happened in the past or not too worried about the future,” Taylor continued. “Just kind of focus on where your feet are. And, I don’t know, I guess that’s kind of what I’ve been good at.”
Taylor is on his third team, and he joins the Bears after he had re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.
Cincinnati replaced Taylor with fourth-round rookie, Charlie Jones.
“And that’s what I mean, that’s what you have to do as a football player,” Taylor said. “Because everybody has ups and downs. I’ve had a year where I got put on the practice squad you know it’s a devastating type of feeling. But all I can do is control what I can control.
“I slowly worked my way out of that and was back on the field again.”
The Man, The Mullet, The Beer
Bears defensive tackle Justin Jones gave the media a bit of insight into Feeney the day before the latter spoke. Jones noted that Feeney’s mullet was his “trademark” and that the offensive lineman “loves beer”.
“He’s a great dude,” Feeney said of Jones after Thursday’s practice. “And when he signed his contract here, I was very excited for him.”
As for his beer of choice?
“I mean, shoot. Anything that’s cold, really,” Feeney said.
Eberflus noted Feeney’s versatility having played guard and center in his six-year career spent between the Los Angeles Chargers – where he and Jones were teammates – and the New York Jets. With Bears starting right guard Teven Jenkins on injured reserve for the first four weeks of the regular season, depth is at a premium.
And Feeney, who has started 64 games in his career, said he is ready to step in at left guard in place of Jenkins if whatever initial plan the Bears come up with for Week 1 fails.