LAKE FOREST — Senorise Perry’s game is defined by speed – his sub-4.4 40 and blistering 6.89-second three-cone drill led to the Bears signing him as an undrafted rookie free agent this spring.
Perry’s wheels are unique, but the lag in information traveling to an undrafted rookie isn't – Perry was one of two, along with Christian Jones, to crack the Bears’ initial 53-man roster.
When asked after practice on Wednesday how he learned over the weekend his NFL dream had come true, Perry said he heard from his mom.
“I actually called my mom and she told me about it,” said Perry. “I didn’t know anything … then I just looked on the social sites, and from there, that’s when I knew.”
Social media is indeed a powerful tool. Surely, though, Perry was one of the first on Tuesday to learn he was listed as the first-string kickoff returner on the club’s unofficial depth chart included in its Week One release?
“I actually wasn’t aware of that,” he confessed with a grin. “You might be the first to tell me. I hadn’t seen that on any social networks. But if I do get a chance to go out there and perform, I’ll be proud to handle my job, do my part.”
Despite Perry’s standing atop the unofficial depth chart, he’ll likely be second in line behind the more experienced Micheal Spurlock at kickoff returner when the Bears open the 2014 season against the Bills at Soldier Field on Sunday. But special teams ability was at the root of Phil Emery and Marc Trestman’s thinking when they decided to keep both Perry and veteran Shaun Draughn as part of an unusually large running back stable that also includes Pro Bowler Matt Forte, fourth-round rookie Ka’Deem Carey and fullback Tony Fiametta.
Perry’s home run speed combined with his youth gives him the greatest upside of any returner currently on the Bears. His overall athleticism was evident early this offseason, but before Perry began standing out on special teams, he had to persevere through early ball security issues in camp.
He said in July that he hoped to show the kind of mental toughness to rebound from his practice fumbles – and the Bears took notice. They increased his opportunities in the preseason, featuring Perry on their game-winning drive against Jacksonville, then expanding his role to include kickoff returns.
“Speed; he can run,” said special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis on what helped secure a roster spot for Perry, who’ll be a gunner in addition to a returner. … “He’s raw right now so we got to coach him all the way up until game time on Sunday… but I think he’s a powerful kid, too. … He can really run at the size he is, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s gonna do.”
Perry’s excitement is palpable, but he isn’t ready to look too far ahead.
“Right now I’m still looking around and going through all of the details,” he said. “I’m more focused on the game Sunday than a regular life right now.”