Amid persistent doubts about Bears' receivers, Byron Pringle hopes his play will talk back


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Inside the meeting room at Halas Hall for the Bears’ wide receivers, they've heard the noise.

There’s persistent doubt outside of Lake Forest about whether the Bears have added enough receiving talent to support second-year quarterback Justin Fields. After letting top target Allen Robinson walk in free agency, first-year general manager Ryan Poles added receivers with upside rather than those who had a history of proven production.

With that as context, Bears veteran receiver Byron Pringle makes an effort to tune out when his teammates discuss what pundits are saying. He doesn’t check his mentions on social media or listen to the national narratives. Pringle signed with Chicago this past offseason to make a point with his play.

“I’m just coming to play ball and have fun,” Pringle said. “All the guys work hard. Everybody can make a play in the room. It's not like we’re the worst receivers in the league. We can make plays. Time will tell. We work hard. We play hard.

“We’re here to play ball. We’re not here to determine what people feel about us, how they care about us. We're here to play ball and have fun while we’re doing it.”

Pringle is one of several new Bears wide receivers, as Chicago also signed Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis in free agency and selected Velus Jones Jr. in the third round of the NFL Draft. They join third-year receiver Darnell Mooney, who's established as Chicago’s new No. 1 target after hauling in 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Poles believes the Bears’ new receivers can support Fields with their speed and playmaking abilities while fitting well alongside Mooney in a new-look offense. The 28-year-old Pringle has quickly embraced his place with the Bears, and his teammates can sense it.

“He’s a guy that I’d run through a wall for, for sure,” Mooney said of Pringle.

“He’s ready to take advantage of the opportunity that he’s been given.”

Pringle was sidelined with a quad injury after just a week of training camp, but he returned Monday in time for Week 1 preparation. He wasn't listed on the Bears' first injury report of the season Wednesday as the team prepares to play the 49ers on Sunday at Soldier Field.

An undrafted free agent signing of the Chiefs in 2018, Pringle emerged as a weapon in Kansas City’s high-powered offense. He hauled in 42 catches for 568 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. Eleven of those receptions were for more than 20 yards. When given a chance in the Chiefs’ offense, Pringle made the most of it.

Poles saw that up close as he also worked in Kansas City before being hired by Chicago in January. Poles and Pringle connected personally in the Chiefs’ team cafeteria and built a trust that has moved to the Bears. Poles believes in Pringle's potential and is putting his faith behind him as a key target for Fields.

As for Pringle, he isn’t paying attention to the apparent pressure on his shoulders. And he isn’t listening to what skeptics are saying about his fellow Bears receivers.

“Just take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented to me,” Pringle said. “Just go out there, execute, play and have fun.

“I don’t care about what they say about me, good or bad. As long as we win. It's a team thing, not a Byron Pringle thing.”

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

Listen live to 670 The Score via:
Audacy App  |  Online Stream  |  Smart Speaker

Featured Image Photo Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images