John Fox pulled Marquess Wilson aside Wednesday to talk special teams.
“There will be spots on this football team that are for fourth down guys, core special teams players,” the Bears coach said after Wednesday’s mandatory minicamp at Halas Hall. “It’s not always going to be the third or fourth tight end or the fourth-best safety.
“These guys will have to contribute in the kicking game and be good performers in these areas.”
Playing special teams, as he did Wednesday, to make the club is a far cry from this time last season, when Wilson was the prohibitive favorite to win the Bears’ third receiver job. He would have, too, had he not broken his clavicle diving for a ball during training camp Aug. 4.
This season, though, he’s likely fighting for the fourth receiver spot.
The Bears traded Brandon Marshall, but drafted Kevin White No. 7 overall with the intent of starting him opposite Alshon Jeffery. Free agent signee Eddie Royal, given a three-year, $15 million pact to leave the Chargers, is a prototypical slot receiver.
“You’ve got to prove yourself no matter what,” Wilson said. “I don’t really feel like I’m a forgotten man. I just gotta come out where and work like everybody else.”
Fox has been impressed.
“Like most of the guys, he’s worked very hard, made some grabs and caught the coaches’ eyes in these offseason workouts,” he said.
The 6-4, 184-pounder caught two passes in his rookie year. Last season, he returned from injury to catch 17 passes for 140 yards in seven games.
“When I got back I wasn’t in tip-top shape,” he said. “Now I feel like myself again.”
Wilson did not work out at Marshall’s gym, the way he did the year before, but the two have stayed in contact even after he was dealt to the Jets. He came away with advice he’ll use both now and in training camp.
“One of his main things is, to try to get me to stay focused and not get down on myself,” Wilson said. “That’s about it. I’m a perfectionist. I tend to lose focus on that.”
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