Coach Matt Nagy has big plans for Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson wants his nickname to be ‘Damn!’ because that’s what people will say every time he touches the ball.
The Bears usually refer to him by his first name or his initials, but receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has a more creative nickname he’d like his new teammates to consider.
‘‘I’m one of those guys where you’ll be like, ‘Damn!’ ’’ he said. ‘‘You’ll see me, and you’ll just say, ‘Damn!’ I’m telling you, just call me ‘Damn!’ Because when I get the ball, it’s like, ‘Damn, he’s about to do this.’ It’s crazy.’’
The Bears’ receivers already were brimming with swagger, and Patterson’s arrival pushed them over the top. He’s an electric athlete, has a Super Bowl ring and doesn’t grasp the concept of doubt.
When he showed up in Minnesota as one of the Vikings’ first-round picks in 2013, Patterson was so audacious that receiver Greg Jennings marveled about how he never had seen such a confident rookie. That trait swelled over the years, and it’s the reason Patterson has thrived in various roles in his career.
The Patriots scooped him up last season with an idea of shifting him to a part-time running back, and he averaged 5.4 yards on 42 carries. No problem. He also had 21 catches for 247 yards and scored five all-purpose touchdowns.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dubbed him ‘‘The Experiment’’ because he was talented enough to try anything.
‘‘I don’t set my eyes low on anything,’’ Patterson said. ‘‘There’s nothing I believe I can’t do on the football field. That’s the confidence I have every day.’’
He doesn’t take it as a joke when someone playfully asks whether he thinks he could hop over to tight end or even linebacker.
‘‘Give me a couple of reps at it, and I’ll feel like I can make a play,’’ he said.
Why stop there? Maybe Patterson could solve the Bears’ kicker quandary.
‘‘Man, I can kick,’’ he scoffed. ‘‘I can do everything.’’
Coach Matt Nagy won’t ask quite that much out of Patterson, but his mind has been spinning with gadgets and formations for his new weapon. Patterson is big enough (6-2, 228 pounds) to line up pretty much anywhere and has the moves to turn short passes into huge gains.
The Bears also expect Patterson to be their No. 1 kick returner, a position at which he was an All-Pro for the Vikings in 2013 and 2016. He has averaged 30 yards per return and has six kick-return touchdowns in his career.
Nagy won’t unveil any creative designs in the preseason opener Thursday against the Panthers, and it’s unclear whether veterans such as Patterson will play at all. Once the season starts, however, it could get crazy.
‘‘There’s not a limit,’’ said Nagy, who likened Patterson’s versatility to that of Bears running back Tarik Cohen and Chiefs dynamo Tyreek Hill. ‘‘He can do a lot of different things.’’
It would be fascinating to know all the plans Nagy was thinking about but resisted saying. The Bears saw what Patterson did with the Patriots — they witnessed some of it firsthand, actually, when he ran back a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown at Soldier Field — and dreamed of expanding it.
The first few months working together have affirmed the signing, a two-year deal worth $10 million, for both sides. A coach with tons of ideas and a player who thinks he can do it all look like a perfect match.
‘‘That means we should get married, huh, if we’ve got that much in common?’’ Patterson said, laughing. ‘‘Just looking at coach Nagy and the things he did in the past, it’s kind of a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to be in a position like this?’’