At the last check, Chicago Bears wide receiver N’Keal Harry was coming into a new situation with a “huge chip” on his shoulder. Harry, originally a first-round pick (32nd overall) by the New England Patriots in 2019, was traded to Chicago for a seventh-round draft selection in 2024. It is a low-risk, high-reward shot by the Bears who were woefully thin at the position.
Harry had gone rather quiet since then. He had just 44 receiving yards on four receptions (five targets). That was thanks in large part to an ankle injury suffered during training camp.
The 6-foot-4 wideout was placed on injured reserve on September 1. He returned to practice on October 5 before finally being activated on October 10. Still, he was relatively quiet appearing in just three games leading up to the Week 13 tilt against Green Bay.
Due to the injury to Darnell Mooney — who went on IR — Harry got a big opportunity and made the most of it.
Bears Pass Catcher Sounds Off After Stepping Up
Big Play Day for Harry
Harry had a veritable breakout in Week 13 against the Packers connecting with quarterback Justin Fields for just one pass. But it was a doozy gaining 49 yards. That is more than the pass-catcher had all season coming in – to put the Bears in position to score on their first possession of the second half.
That did not happen, however. The drive stalled and Cairo Santos’ 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Packers defensive lineman Dean Lowry.
The events that unfolded do not take away from the fact that Harry made a big play.
The throw 🤌
The catch 🤌
📺: #GBvsCHI on FOX pic.twitter.com/aw5fWkCkr5
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 4, 2022
“It feels good,” Harry said of his Bears “breakout”. “But at the end of the day, I know I could do more. I know I could make a bigger impact. So I just got to really lock in these last few weeks and make sure I’m ready to go.”
Harry’s yards were third on the team. With only one target, he was the low man on the totem pole today.
“Like I still got a lot to prove,” Harry said when asked how he’s feeling now compared to when he first arrived. “So, when I get the opportunity I got to make the most of it.”
Without Mooney for the remaining four games, there is an opportunity for Harry to step up even further for the Bears who have lost six straight games now as they head into their much-needed bye week.
Harry Facing Major Opportunity
Equanimeous St. Brown is likely to remain at the top of the pecking order due to his experience in the system. But none of Dante Pettis, Byron Pringle, or the recently-acquired Chase Claypool have been able to separate themselves from the pack.
“Obviously I want to play,” Harry said of his recent inactive streak (he doesn’t play special teams). “I love this game, I love being out there. But, at the end of the day, I got to control what I can control. Go out there every day at practice and try to make an impact.”
Harry called the play with Fields an “instinct” play, something that the Bears tried later on to St. Brown only to have Fields intercepted.
One way to gain the quarterback’s trust is to be sure-handed.
Chicago Bears Floated as Landing Spot for $31M Offensive Star
The 24-year-old Harry has not been that up to this point in his career. But he now faces a tremendous opportunity to build a strong rapport with the Bears quarterback of the present and future in Fields.
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