Former Northern Illinois quarterback, Heisman Trophy finalist and NFL undrafted free-agent Jordan Lynch is spending his weekend at Halas Hall taking part in Bears rookie minicamp. Sports reporter Jeff Arnold and sports editor Jon Styf discuss.
Arnold: Being the big Jordan Lynch believer you are, Jon, please tell me that you rushed out and purchased a new Bears jersey with Lynch’s No. 36 on it. Bears general manager Phil Emery seems to think Lynch can make things interesting at the running back spot for the Bears. You’re buying that, right?
Styf: The only jersey I still own is a Jon Kitna Lions jersey. My wife hates it, which I’m pretty sure means I like it a whole lot more. As for Lynch, the draft showed how teams value him as a pro QB and so did Phil Emery’s comments about him throwing well in a “short area.” But I don’t want to bag on the guy, he’s a heck of an athlete and I think he can find a spot in the NFL if he really commits to a different position. It’s tough, however, even for a guy whose played a spot his whole life. But look at Packers CB Sam Shields as an example. He played WR his whole career, was the best high school WR ever have seen, then he switched to DB for his final season at Miami (Florida) and was able to go from undrafted to valuable starter. It can happen, Lynch is talented enough to play somewhere.
Arnold: Funny, I never took you for a jersey guy, but we’ll save that for another time. Lynch strikes me as someone willing to do what he has to stick on an NFL roster. He’s a bruising, powerful runner who likes to run between the tackles. But that’s a long way from being the quarterback Lynch tried to sell teams on before the draft. He’s been pegged with that “athlete” tag that NFL teams like to throw on people they’re not sure what to do with. But if Lynch is smart enough to leave his options open, an NFL career could work out. But here’s my question: Does it work out for him with the Bears?
Styf: This year? I doubt it. This will be a process and they have some real NFL-caliber running backs around. He won’t beat out Matt Forte, Ka’Deem Carey or Michael Ford. I don’t think he beats out Shaun Draughn either. But Lynch might sit on a practice squad for a year and then get a shot. That’s reasonable enough. It’s competitive out there and RB is a tough spot to make it. There are plenty of guys on couches out there who could thrive in the right situation. You just have to be given that opportunity and that doesn’t always happen.
Arnold: Thankfully, he doesn’t appear to be taking the Tim Tebow, Quarterback or Bust approach. I think even if it meant spending a year on a practice squad – whether it be as a RB or as a special teams player – Lynch would see the value of learning in an NFL system. But I’m with you. I’m not sure I see him on the 53-man roster. Then again, I didn’t see him as a Heisman Trophy finalist when the season started, either. So maybe I will keep the Jordan Lynch jersey on my short list of Bosses Day gift ideas for you to go along with the Kitna jersey you’ve got at home.
Styf: No thanks. As you said, I’m not a “jersey guy.”