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Stock rising on the field, Bears' Alshon Jeffery subject of IPO

Would you invest in Alshon Jeffery’s career?

“I’m bullish,” Bears wide receivers coach Mike Groh said with a smile. “Very bullish.”

While the Bears will have to decide, sometime in the next year or so, how much to invest in their star wide receiver, fans can do the same right now.

Monday, a company called Fantex began offering reservations for 835,000 shares of stock in Jeffery’s career. At $10 per share, fans can sign up for the company’s Initial Public Offering, its fourth deal with an NFL player.

In exchange for 13 percent of the receiver’s future earnings both on and off the field, Fantex will pay Jeffery $7.94 million, assuming it raises enough financing from the IPO.

The registration process with the Securities and Exchange Commission will last another 10 or 12 weeks, Fantex CEO Buck French said, at which point reservations would turn into orders. The more money the wide receiver makes, both in his player contract and endorsements, the higher the value of the stock could rise.

Fantex reached the agreement with Jeffery — who said Friday he didn’t want to talk about the deal —through his agent, Eugene Parker.

Still, the timing seems to be key for Jeffery, whose rookie contract doesn’t expire until after next season. In SEC documents, though, Fantex said it estimates that Jeffery will renegotiate his contract prior to the start of next season, when he’s slated to make about $1.7 million, and sign a six-year deal worth $79.4 million. They estimate he’ll have an 11-year playing career.

“We believe he’ll be signing a pretty significant contract in the next year,” French said.

Jeffery, according to documents, already has endorsement deals with The Topps Company, Jewelry Warehouse, Inc., Bose Corporation, Panini America, Inc., Electronic Arts, Inc., and Sideline Marketing, Ltd., that will pay him around $113,440 through the end of next season. If his career continues at its current arc, his off-the-field income would figure to increase.

He’s coming off one of the best games of his career. He had 11 receptions — his second-most as a pro — for 135 yards against the Vikings.

“I think that what we saw in him is what we expect,” coach Marc Trestman said. “When he has opportunities to go up and make the plays, which he did, and make some first downs and take a short throw and make a big play out of it.”

Entering Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, Jeffery has 55 receptions for a team-high 761 yards this season. His 2,549 receiving yards are the third-most in franchise history for a player through his first three seasons.

“I like to say, and we talk about it, that you never arrive,” Groh said. “As soon as you stop getting better you’re getting worse and guys are catching up to you. We’re trying to work out here every day to avoid that.”

French said his company looks for athletes with high character and a desire to develop a brand. Their aim is for him to reach a more diversified audience that would resonate with fans off the football field, and after retirement.

The company has already struck deals with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel and Bengals receiver Mohamed Sanu.

“If they’re a Pro Bowl-type player like Alshon Jeffery,” French said, “that has tremendous cash-flow potential.”

The move is “good for a young guy like Alshon,” said tight end Martellus Bennett, who had talked to Fantex in the past before, he said, deciding against it. And while he admires Jeffery’s game, Bennett draws the line at investing.

“Would I invest in him?” he said. “I wouldn’t invest in any human being. They’re just too unpredictable. “

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley