How Dante Pettis’ tough NFL lessons helped him seize the Bears’ chance

LAKE FOREST – Dante Pettis knows all too well how fleeting NFL chances can be. When the moment comes, you should seize it if you want to stick with your career.

after work bearList of 53 men on Tuesday, Pettis gave himself a new lease on life in the NFL.

“I was asking God for an opportunity,” Pettis said Tuesday after practice. “I was going to work as hard as I could. Whenever I had this opportunity, I would have been prepared for it. It’s good to have that payoff at least for this short period of time.”

Pettis’ career began near the top of the NFL mountain when he traded 49 players for selection in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Pettis, a smooth-running road receiver from Washington, landed in the perfect position, playing in Kyle Shanahan’s attack that prioritizes opening midfield and running into yards after the catch.

But Pettis’ tenure in the Gulf wasn’t the dream many conjured. After a strong end to the junior season,

Pettis showed up to the 49ers camp unfit and quickly lost his fortunes with Shanahan. His playing time waned during the second half of the 2019 season, and he was inactive in the 49ers Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Shanahan challenged Pettis to come back stronger and more focused after a disappointing second season. But Pettis did not reverse course during the 2020 season, and the 49ers ceded him after they were unable to trade him before the deadline.

The New York Giants claimed the Betis, but could not break through the Meadowlands. After scoring 38 passes for 576 yards and seven touchdowns in 28 games for his 48 team, Bettis has only 14 passes for 163 yards and two stars in five games for the Giants.

A disappointing season in New York saw Bettis heading to free agency with limited interest. An NFL purgatory can be death to young recipients after their first and second chances.

The Bears called for practice in May, and Pettis arrived in Chicago ready to take full advantage of the opportunity to join a team without many receivers installed. After a successful workout, the Bears signed a one-year contract with Pettis.

In a crowded reception room filled with men fighting for their presence in the NFL, Pettis has worked hard to show his versatility as a reliable receiver and gambler returner. His ability to open up against the man and the area also gave a comfort level to middleman Justin Fields with the previous second-round pick.

“He’s done a fantastic job,” attack coordinator Luke Jetsie said of Betis. “I think an opportunity was presented and he went out and took advantage of it by the Hooters. He did a great job of being able to be flexible to play multiple positions. He made individual chances and won them, both in training and pre-season matches. In our game, you have to have guys who are capable of Winning those one-on-one fights. He did a good job at that.”

After being kicked by 49 players and having a second chance in New York slip through his fingers, Pettis arrives in Chicago with a different view of the opportunity. The tough lessons from an early career fall gave him a different perspective on finding a home in the NFL and staying there.

“I think every young football player, during their seasons, learns a lot,” Pettis told NBC Sports Chicago. “I think my lessons were, I don’t want to say harder than anyone else, but it was just a different attitude than most people’s travels. So, it taught me a lot. It’s not that I didn’t take football seriously or anything, it’s just a different way of that .

“It’s not easy to get chances once you’re out of the first two years. In the first two years, I feel the teams are more lenient with the players. They give their young players those opportunities and things. Like the past years keep going, especially if you’re not one of those proven vets, chances are Smaller and smaller. So, you can just take advantage of those, and prepare for every opportunity that is presented to you.”

Betis looked behind the eight ball after missing a week of training camp due to injury. With crowded reception teams, time on the grass could have been the deciding factor when it came to the final roster positions.

But Pettis made it through the cut and is now one of three healthy Bears receivers on the active roster and the second most accomplished receiver in the entire group. While that doesn’t say much, the status of the unspoken receiving corps of bears presents an opportunity for Pettis to revive his career if he can continue to build chemistry and trust with the fields.

Pettis is fed up with the adversities of his early career, and sees this as nothing more than an opportunity to play the game he loves. He knows it can be removed in an instant.

“Every day you have to prove what you can do,” Pettis told NBC Sports Chicago. “I’ve learned that in the last couple of years. Guys can come in as high as they can and halfway through the season not even playing. Just come every day with the attitude that I have something to prove, that little chip on my shoulder and be confident in yourself and being able to go to work every day “.

Pettis was unable to find a long-term home in the Bay or Meadowlands.

But he is still only 26 years old. His road running versatility and versatility gave him another chance in Chicago.

One knows that he cannot be lost.

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