The sheer amount of roster churn that happens for any NFL team in a preseason is often immeasurable. When coaches and general managers are attempting to meticulously carve off the rough edges of their respective teams, that can spell out utter chaos for everyone involved. For coaches this comes in the form of uncomfortable, awkward conversations where they have to reluctantly deflate someone’s dream. For players, unless you’re a star or part of the core, their bags are always packed. They’re prepared for the prospect of change at a moment’s notice. In these moments they realize living out their dream of making themselves reputable in the NFL has to occur elsewhere.
At least they hope it will.
On Saturday morning, the Bears stayed active. Just before their first appearance at Soldier Field this season, they made two corresponding roster moves. The first was waiving defensive back Josh Simmons. Then with the new space on their 90-man preseason roster free, they acquired receiver Joe Walker.
A standout at Division II Limestone College in South Carolina, Simmons had signed on with the Bears as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft. A 2019 All-American, Simmons recorded 50 defensed passes and 15 interceptions over the course of an illustrious career as a ball-hawk. The rookie will have to take his notable nose for the ball elsewhere.
Simmons’ unfortunate ouster reopens a door for Walker in Chicago. He was a participant in the Bears’ rookie minicamp in May. Evidently his performance there wasn’t enough to warrant a signing. Thankfully for Walker, August in the NFL presents a variety of second, third, and sometimes even fourth chances.
However extended Walker’s stay with the Bears ends up being, he’ll have a connection to Matt Nagy and Bilal Nichols—he’s another Delaware football alum. The receiver’s final season with the Blue Hens saw him post 34 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns. If Walker’s to actualize his potential as a pro football player, suffice to say it probably won’t happen with the Bears and their receiving corps laden with top-tier ability and depth. Like many of his background, Walker’s new niche is special teams. There’s plenty of time and opportunity—four preseason games and nearly all of August—for Walker to leave an imprint.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network, the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times. Follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski. You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.