Pat Devlin spent much of his Memorial Day weekend on the road, driving 12 hours from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, after the Bears flew him home to get his things.
How much longer he’ll need them, though, could be determined in the next three weeks.
Last year’s Bears whittled their quarterback room from five to four during the June mandatory minicamp. This year’s team has five on the roster — including Devlin, whose age makes him unique among the team’s four backups.
Though he’s never appeared in a regular-season game, the 27-year-old is closer in age to Jay Cutler than he is to Bears second-round draft pick Eddie Goldman.
Devlin’s appeal to the Bears is tied to the fact that, despite his age, he’s still eligible to play on the team’s practice squad. That’s where the spent the second half of last season in Minnesota, before the Vikings cut him in April.
Devlin — who was signed after a tryout during this month’s rookie minicamp —could bring maturity to the quarterback room, even if he never sees the field on Sundays.
“All the terminology is different, but some of the concepts are the same,” Devlin, who’s had only a few weeks to learn the Bears’ scheme, said Wednesday after OTA practice at Halas Hall. “This is my fourth or fifth offense. A lot of the stuff is the same —it’s just called something different. So it’s just a matter of trying to memorize stuff. They say it’s a copycat league.”
The three men behind clear-cut No. 2 Jimmy Clausen have zero games of NFL experience. The Bears like undrafted free agent rookie Shane Carden from East Carolina, and might not have the same allegiance to second-year player David Fales as Phil Emery, the man who drafted him. Fales was regarded enough last season, though, to receive inquiries from other teams, forcing the Bears to promote him off the practice squad.
Devlin, the all-time Pennsylvania prep passing yards leader, began his college career at Penn State before transferring to Delaware. He threw for 5,696 yards and 37 scores in his final two seasons with the Fightin’ Blue Hens, but was not drafted.
He spent most of 2011 on the Dolphins practice squad before making the 53-man roster the next two seasons in Miami, though he was ruled inactive before each game.
The 6-3, 220-pounder said he improved during the half-season he spent in Minnesota last year.
“It’s always good, whenever you’re taking reps,” he said. “(Vikings quarterbacks coach) Scott Turner was really great. Even when you’re a practice squad guy, he was great at drilling and always staying on top of you during practice.”
He said new Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s offense is different than the scheme he learned under the Vikings’ Norv Turner or the Dolphins’ Mike Sherman —but hinted the Bears will play fast.
“One year we tried to do a little no-huddle —not even no-huddle, just speed-up stuff — in Miami,” he said. “So far, this has been fun to play in.”