Bears Take Chance on Veteran Pass-Catcher Attempting NFL Comeback

The Chicago Bears have signed a veteran player who's hoping to make a return to the NFL.
Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney (89) catches a pass
Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney (89) catches a pass / Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears' exciting offseason continued this weekend with the team's rookie minicamp. Fans were, rightfully, focused on top draft picks like Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze, but there were also several players in town trying out to hopefully snag a spot on the Bears' roster.

It turns out at least one of those attendees is sticking around in Chicago.

ESPN's Jordan Raanan reported on Sunday that the Bears are signing tight end Tommy Sweeney after his performance at the minicamp this weekend. Sweeney was one of the few non-rookies invited to work out in front of coaches, and it appears he's impressed Matt Eberflus' staff.

Sweeney was originally a seventh-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2019 out of Boston College. He appeared in 24 games for the Bills over his first four seasons, recording just 16 total receptions, 165 yards and 1 touchdown.

The TE's involvement on offense declined during the 2022 campaign, however, and his special teams usage balooned to 42% after seeing only six total snaps there from 2019-2021.

Sweeney then entered 2023 training camp bubble, but a "medical event" that involved him collapsing on the practice field prevented him from ever making a bid at increased playing time. He was subsequently placed on the NFI (non-football injury list, since it occurred before the regular season) and eventually released in November.

Availability is something Sweeney has struggled with in his career. He was placed on the PUP list after suffering a foot injury during the 2020 offseason, and didn't end up suiting up at all that year following placement on the Reserve/COVID list.

With two fully missed seasons, and another two campaigns of six or fewer games played, Sweeney has to prove he can make be relied upon by a team that hopes to be in playoff contention.

The fact Chicago is taking chance on him following the tryout shows some belief in his potential with this squad, but he'll need a strong training camp to have a chance at suiting up in an NFL game again.

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