It was between Baltimore and Chicago for undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry after the seventh round completed in Saturday’s NFL Draft.
The Wyoming wide receiver says he was waiting patiently at his parent’s house in Denver, Colo. right when he got the call from both teams. Gentry’s agent Ken Sarnoff of Players Rep Sports Management was on the phone with both the Ravens and Bears sorting it all out.
“My whole family was over at the house and I was in a quiet room with my mom, fiancée and brother,” Gentry told Bears Backer. “Right after the draft ended, my agent and I narrowed the choices down to Baltimore and Chicago, we ended up going with Chicago. I then went out and told my family and there were lots of tears of joy.”
Gentry, a four-year starter for the Cowboys says he was expected to be drafted because that’s what his agent had heard after his senior season ended.
Regardless, he joins a Bears team that didn’t draft a wide receiver this past weekend. Currently, Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Deonte Thompson, Ruben Randle and Eddie Royal are under contract.
Jamari Staples (Louisville) and Jhajuan Seales (Oklahoma State) also signed as undrafted free agents on Saturday.
Gentry, a 6’2″, 210-pounder had a standout final season for Wyoming totaling 72 receptions for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns. He ended his Cowboys career tied for fourth in school history in touchdown receptions (20), fifth in receiving yards (2,815) and eighth in career receptions (180).
“It was disappointing not to see my name called during the draft, but I am so thankful and humbled for the opportunity to join the Bears,” Gentry said. “I’m very motivated to prove that I deserve to be in the league.”
Gentry called the Bears organization an exciting one because he says he knows they have the will to win.
“The city of Chicago loves the Bears so much and I’m excited to help the team in any way possible,” he said. “It means everything to me to be a part of this organization, it still doesn’t feel real.”
Both defensive end Mitch Unrein and safety Chris Prosinski, two Bears veterans and former Wyoming players reached out to Gentry right after he signed, he says.
Gentry played 42 games at Wyoming, coming into his own as a junior with 37 catches for 678 yards and four touchdowns before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He called it a tough thing to deal with.
“It was tough especially because it was my first ever injury in football where I had to miss time,” he said. “I just had to stay strong in my faith and know that I needed to work very hard to recover and get back to better than I was before.”
Gentry combined for 71 receptions for 811 yards and two touchdowns as an underclassman. A former standout at Grandview High in Denver, he excelled as a wide receiver and defensive back while also playing basketball at the school.
“I think that playing both ways in high school and playing basketball as well really helped me improve my athleticism and understand the game of football more,” he said.
Growing up a Denver Broncos fan, his hometown team, Gentry says that he is all Bears now and that he knows his family is as well. His lone workout during the draft process was with Denver at a local session.
Who are the Bears getting in Gentry on and off the field?
This was his response.
“The Bears are getting a guy who is very reliable and does everything he can to make plays when the ball is in the air. I will be very coachable and do whatever it takes to make the team better,” Gentry said. “Off the field, I’m a guy who stays away from trouble and has great family values.”
Starting his football life at the age of 9, he says that he’s always dreamed of playing in the NFL. He also said that he remembers other kid’s parents telling him that he would make it far.
Gentry first lined up under center as a quarterback before moving to wide receiver in high school. He says the confidence grew in his game during his junior year of high school and it only grew from there at Wyoming.
Perhaps Gentry’s confidence grew during his first ever collegiate game at Nebraska.
“Playing at their place in front of 90,000 people, it was very humbling and it showed me how hard I have to work to be an elite player at the college level,” he said
He says the best player he faced was former Michigan State and current Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes.
In terms of what it takes to get here, Gentry had this advice for all the future pro football players.
“Just trust your abilities and always outwork your competition,” he said. “Drafted or not, you have to trust the process and know that if you belong in the league that it will happen.”
Gentry will fly into Chicago next Thursday, a day prior to the team’s rookie minicamp that runs from May 12-14.
“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and getting on the field to show what I bring to the team and how hard I work,” he said
Gentry has not been to Chicago before but says he’s heard great things about the city and he’s very excited.
Favorite player – Dez Bryant
Playlist – Drake, Logic, Future
Favorite movies – Step Brothers, Transformers, Fast and Furious series
Favorite TV shows – Impractical Jokers, Pitbulls and Parolees, Carbanoro Effect
Hobbies – Video games, hanging with my dogs, working out
Fun fact – I have a little bit of a tattoo addiction. Two forearm sleeves and four others
Nickname – “TG”