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Bears announce 2017 practice squad

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A fan favorite headlines Chicago's developmental group this year.

Photo by Serena Vitellaro-Wiltfong

EDIT: The Bears officially announced a nine man practice squad moments ago, but according to their website, they have ten.

With their 53-man roster all but set, the Chicago Bears are tasked with forming their league mandated 10-man practice squad on Sunday. Keep in mind the designation between these guys and active players: Those on the practice squad are purely developmental players who practice with the team but are not active on game days and earn significantly less than anyone on the bottom-of-the-roster.

Let's take a look at the practice crop the Bears have chosen to stick around this year in this select capacity. (Will be updated accordingly.)

1. Tanner Gentry, WR

This year's prodigal fan favorite is indeed returning to the Bears' practice squad. In perhaps not as surprising of a development, Gentry cleared waivers and the Bears now have the opportunity to develop the 2017 un-drafted free agent's route running (aside from his already tremendous deep ball ability).

2. Dieugot Joseph, OT

The 23-year-old undrafted free agent out of Florida International primarily saw playing time with the Bears' low depth offensive line units during the preseason. But, the Bears are banking on Joseph's slight upside here as much as possible. An uphill battle, no doubt.

3. Brandon Greene, OL

Greene was an early August addition after Eric Kush tore his hamstring following the Bears' annual Family Fest at Soldier Field. The former Alabama product played tight end, offensive line, and even a little bit on defense while in college.

4. Rashaad Coward, DT

As one of the more intriguing undrafted free agent adds this year, Coward had a relatively solid enough preseason to now find his way onto Chicago's practice squad. the 6-foot-5, 280 pounder is incredibly raw but given his physical tools, could yet be a contributor in time.

5. Cameron Lee, OT

Lee is an intriguing prospect as a 2017 undrafted free agent, because he's had to make the leap from the FCS level at Illinois State to professional football. A lengthy developmental track if he doesn't progress well. However, he can play either tackle or guard so that versatility is welcome. In any event, the Danville, Illinois native has found a way to stick with Chicago.

6. DeAndre Houston-Carson, S

Chicago's 2016 sixth round pick out of William & Mary, Houston-Carson has struggled to find his niche in the NFL. One would've thought he could make a name for himself on special teams but even that hasn't come to fruition. Still, the Bears like the second-year safety enough to attempt to keep attempting to develop him.

7. Jonathan Anderson, LB

The 25-year-old 2015 undrafted free agent was really making a name for himself during training camp and this preseason until a high ankle sprain derailed all of his progress. Evidently enough, the Bears see enough in Anderson to track his progress.

8. John Timu, LB

Timu came in as an undrafted free agent with Anderson, and the two have been bouncing around the Bears every since. He tied for the team lead in tackles (13), and added two sacks this preseason.

9. Isaiah Irving, OLB

The undrafted free agent flashed some speed off the edge during preseason, racking up three sacks. He played defensive end in college at San Jose State, so some time on the practice squad learning his new position will do him good.

10. Ben Braunecker, TE

Braunecker has grown a lot as a professional football player in the past year or so after coming out undrafted from Harvard. He'll likely never be more than a depth tight end or special teams player should he make a roster full-time, but has enough untapped potential for the Bears to consider to continue to monitor.

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.