CHICAGO – At this point of his NFL career, Jordan Lynch realizes he can’t control when – or even if – his chance will come.
The former Northern Illinois quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist remains buried on the depth chart at running back midway through his first preseason with the Bears. Although he’s a fan favorite, Lynch is widely considered to be a longshot to make the final 53-man roster and is more likely bound for a practice squad spot.
But nothing suggesting what Lynch’s future could look like has been finalized with two preseason games yet to be played. And so, like he has for much of his life, Lynch will continue to compete, doing whatever he can to prove that he can stick.
In the Bears’ first preseason game against Philadelphia, Lynch got an opportunity to showcase what he has learned since he transitioned to running back after going untouched in last spring’s NFL draft. Last week against Jacksonville, Lynch’s opportunities came on special teams, another position he hadn’t played until the Bears signed him as an undrafted free agent.
Despite seeing limited time against the Eagles and Jaguars, however, Lynch feels much more comfortable at both spots and is anxious to show just how far he has come since he went through rookie camp this summer.
How that translates to the amount of time Lynch will see in the Bears’ final two exhibition games, starting Friday night against the Seahawks in Seattle, is yet to be seen. Although games against the Seahawks and Browns likely will give reserves a chance to lay claim to roster spots, Lynch has no control over how much time he will see on the field.
So rather than concern himself over such matters, Lynch will continue to fight.
“It’s kind of the way it’s been my whole life,” Lynch said after the Bears’ 20-19 win over the Jaguars last week at Soldier Field. “I’ll get my shot, I’ll get more opportunities.”
Lynch feels what he calls a “night-and-day” difference in his comfort level since he started organized team activity drills with the Bears. After reporting to rookie minicamp in May at 205 pounds, Lynch has dropped 15 pounds, putting himself in the best possible position to compete for a spot on the final roster.
Bears coaches like Lynch’s competitive edge – a side of Lynch’s game evidenced by a fourth-quarter carry against the Eagles when Lynch bulldozed over a defensive back before finishing off a 12-yard run on a night when Lynch got seven carries. Still new at his position, however, Lynch continues to soak in everything he can between film sessions and leaning on veterans such as Matt Forte to bring him along even more.
Although limited, Lynch tried to get the most out of every training camp rep he got, sending a message to his coaches that he will do whatever it takes to make the team. The progress Lynch has made might be difficult to accurately measure from the outside. But it’s the little things – his footwork at running back or the way he takes on blocks on special teams – that Lynch picks up on, seeing things that perhaps others don’t, proving that he’s closer to being an NFL player than when he first arrived.
For now, Lynch can’t afford to get wrapped up in what his future with the Bears holds. He won’t concern himself about what outsiders’ preliminary 53-man rosters look like or questions about what he would need to do between now and Aug. 30 when the roster is trimmed to stay on with his hometown team.
“I don’t have to worry about that,” Lynch said. “I just have to go out there every day and compete and try to get a spot on this team.”