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Bears sign Tanner Gentry to 53-man roster, buoy up receiving corps

A now depleted receiving core forced the Bears' hand to call up their raw undrafted free agent, among other Chicago roster moves Tuesday.

Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It's quite the predicament to lose your No. 1 and No. 2 receivers in Cameron Meredith and Kevin White for the season within a few weeks' of early season time, but that's the position the Chicago Bears find themselves following their contest against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. That kind of injury luck demands corresponding roster additions and moves immediately, something the Bears were immediately prepared for as evidenced by Tuesday afternoon.

Given that depleted receiving corps, the Bears officially signed this year's Bourbonnais sensation and the fan-favorite rookie Tanner Gentry to the active 53-man roster. #FreeGentry and #GentryWatch is now over. You can breathe.

Gentry, after enjoying a stellar training camp, was called up from the practice squad and will almost certainly receive the opportunity to build on the consistent playmaking he showcased over the course of August. He still has a ways to go as a complete receiver running a refined route tree - which is why Chicago elected to have him start the 2017 season on the practice squad - but his ability down field as a deep threat and natural instincts could pay immediate dividends provided he's prepared for the opportunity.

It's no guarantee, though. At minimum, Gentry indeed could be a needed boost to the passing offense regardless of who's under center for the Bears.

In other news, there's still no official update on the status of Jerrell Freeman, who is in Chicago's concussion protocol and who also injured his pectoral muscle in Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Falcons. The promotion of the raw but talented Jonathan Anderson on Tuesday potentially paints the picture of the Bears' Mike linebacker missing some time.

Anderson, who is in his third season with Chicago, was having a strong preseason and looked like a lock to make the active regular season roster before a high ankle sprain derailed his progress. The 25-year-old may have a shot to make an impact depending on the play of primary fill-in Nick Kwiatkoski but should work as solid depth in any event.

Finally, to buoy up their barren receiving corps as best as possible, the Bears have also signed the speedy Mario Alford after bringing him in for a tryout last week. Alford, also in his third NFL season at 25-years-old, is more of a slot talent at 5-foot-9 but may have upside in the open field. At any rate, it doesn't hurt to bring him in and see what he can do.

The Bears are preparing to rebound with a victory in Tampa Bay this Sunday after a gut-wrenching loss. These promotions and acquisitions may well help in that department.

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.