WR Cameron Meredith happy at home with Bears

SHARE WR Cameron Meredith happy at home with Bears

Cameron Meredith’s quarterback dream was fizzling in slow motion.

After redshirting his first season at Illinois State, Meredith appeared in three games over the next two seasons. He completed six passes for nine yards.

When it became clear his circumstances wouldn’t improve as a junior, he acquiesced to the suggestion of a coach. During the offseason, he switched to wide receiver.

“I always had that NFL dream,” he said. “But playing quarterback my junior year my coach told me, ‘You might not want to play that for much longer.’

“I was sitting on the bench for so long.”

On his first day, he ran only “go” routes, streaking down the sideline and looking for a deep ball. He started the second game of his junior season, catching two touchdown passes. Sunday, almost two years to the day later, the Westchester native will take the field with the Bears.

“It means the world,” said Meredith, who turns 23 in two weeks. “Just getting an opportunity and then making the team, I feel ecstatic. Now I’ve just got to let it sink in, come out here every day and work my butt off so these coaches know they made the right decision.”

The St. Joseph’s High School alum — who grew up with Bears posters on his wall —spent Saturday waiting in a hotel room for nightmare news that never came. After the 3 p.m. cutdown came and went, he received word telling him he was safe. He called his parents with the news.

Meredith spent most of Sunday “getting my mind right,” knowing he had to focus on Monday’s practice rather than celebrate.

There’s no guarantee, of course, that Meredith will see the field Sunday. Receivers Eddie Royal (hip) and Marquess Wilson (hamstring) practiced Monday; Alshon Jeffery (calf) was not present during the portion of practice in which media were allowed.

If all three were to play, Meredith, the team’s sixth receiver, would probably be inactive.

In preseason games, no Bears receiver recorded more yards than Meredith’s 86. Only one — Rashad Lawrence —matched his nine catches.

The Bears kept Meredith over Lawrence, a second-year player, and rookie Ify Umodu, though the latter re-signed to the Bears’ practice squad. Lawrence went to the Jaguars’.

“Cam was a guy that we liked when we first evaluated him in the local area tryout,” coach John Fox said. “I think he just continued to grow and improve.”

The Bears are intrigued by the 6-3, 220-pounder as much because of what he’s yet to learn, given his lack of receiver experience.

“I’m definitely a lot more confident now,” said Meredith, who had an ISU-high 1,061 receiving yards on 66 catches as senior. “I’ve got some game experience under my belt and that definitely helped a lot, going out there and getting your feet wet.

“My technique is a lot better just taking coaching day-by-day and also the other receivers giving me those little tips and pointers. So everything’s coming along slow and steady. But just keep working at it.”

He gets to do so from Halas Hall.

“This is only the beginning,” he said. “It’s great. It’s an honor to be here on this 53-man roster. Now I’m just trying to do everything I can to help the team win and just get better day-by-day, and week-by-week.”

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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