The Chargers called wide receiver Dontrelle Inman to their upstairs office and told him he had been traded Wednesday morning. He left Los Angeles on an airplane at 5 p.m., landed in Chicago at 11 and was inside Halas Hall for MRI exams, X-rays and a physical at 6 a.m. Thursday.
“A nice cup of coffee did me well,” he said Thursday afternoon.
Not on his first-day agenda: practice. Inman had time for a meeting but not for on-field work, coach John Fox said. He’ll participate for the first time Friday.
To expect him to be ready to play Sunday in New Orleans seems like folly — though neither Fox nor Inman would rule it out.
“That’s up to Coach, that’s up to [general manager Ryan Pace],” said Inman, dealt for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2018. “I’m ready. But it’s totally up to them. If I’m ready and they think I’m ready, then I’ll be out there.”
Trying to catch up on the playbook will take longer than three days. But when Inman watched practice Thursday, the play script looked somewhat familiar.
“I was like, ‘OK, this is 2007, this is 2009,’ ” he said. “It’s a whole bunch of concepts I’ve been in before.”
In college at Virginia, he had five receivers coaches, four offensive coordinators and two head coaches. They shuffled through schemes — and terminology — that reminded him of the Bears’. What he doesn’t know, he’ll try to translate to the language he’s familiar with: the Chargers’ playbook.
Inman knows he’s needed.
“It’s kind of like, everybody has had this feeling before — the feeling of being wanted,” he said. “It’s always good at any point in time, any career you have, being wanted. That’s just the nature of us.”
Like Kendall Wright, Inman plays the slot. But offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said he can line up outside, too, the way Cam Meredith did.
“It’s no different, just the way the ball is thrown to you,” the 6-3, 198-pound Inman said. “The slot is more fast-twitch sometimes. Sometimes you run a deep over, sometimes you run a little short route. It’s kind of the same thing.”
Bears wide receivers Tre McBride, Tanner Gentry and Josh Bellamy are less accomplished than Inman. One year removed from an 810-yard season, he has caught only two passes on just 39 snaps this season. The Chargers’ receiving corps, healthy this season, includes Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin — plus first-round pick Mike Williams.
“We had a whole bunch of good books in San Diego,” Inman said. “You can’t read them all at one time.”
The Bears don’t have that problem. Rookie Mitch Trubisky threw seven passes against the Panthers. Still, Inman liked his brief first impression.
“You can see the confidence in [Trubisky], just for me today, just out there looking at him,” he said. “For the last four or five weeks, I’ve been watching him. This kid can be good, and he shows it. He shows that he can be great in this league.’’
In the interim, though, can Inman run-block?
“I’ve stuck my nose in there a couple of times,” he said, “coming down to get the safety.”
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