How does one go about explaining a Cameron Meredith destiny piece? Especially considering the guy just sprained his thumb and is out until training camp. That’s no reason to panic. By all accounts the young wide receiver has looked better than ever in practice. This coming off his excellent 2016 season that saw him post 888 yards in just his second year.
Not bad for an undrafted free agent who switched to wide receiver from quarterback in college. It’s a testament to his desire and work ethic that he’s made it this far. The better part for Bears fans is he’s still scratching the surface of his potential. Not only that, but there’s reason to believe that lady luck may be in his corner thanks to a few unforeseen benefits that people may not know about.
The saying goes it’s better to be lucky than good. Meredith could end up being both. Here are some key reasons to think the best is still to come.
Cameron Meredith destiny starts with Illinois ties
Do not underestimate the value of harvesting homegrown talent. Few teams have had greater success at getting great players from their home state quite like the Bears do from Illinois. In case people need a quick refresher, here are some notable names:
- George Wilson
- George Musso
- Dick Butkus
- Gary Fencik
- Brendan Ayanbadejo
- Charles Tillman
All of those men were Pro Bowlers for the Bears during their respective careers. Two of them (Butkus and Musso) are now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There’s just something special about a guy being able to play for the team he grew up watching. It’s the same for Meredith who was born in Berwyn, Illinois and graduated from Illinois State. A chance to succeed in his NFL career for Chicago has to be inspiring for him.
He’s wearing #81
They say not much should be read into what jersey number a player wears. Tell that to people who watched Michael Jordan go from #45 back to #23. Tell that to all the Bears players who’ve had their numbers retired in Chicago. It can matter a lot and there is a history that shows wearing the right one with this team can produce results.
Meredith is finding that out rather fast. Turns out the #81 has been quite generous to the franchise over the years. Hall of Fame defensive end Doug Atkins made it famous during his run in the 1960s. However, it’s also produced some quality play at the wide receiver position. Jeff Graham, Bobby Engram and even Rashied Davis had memorable moments when they wore it during their runs in Chicago.
Wearing that jersey number has done some good things for Bears players in the past. Meredith, who led the team in receiving last year, is starting to experience the same.
The guy is an underdog receiver
This might sound a little confusing at first. What exactly does it mean? Specifically it’s in regards to how he got into the NFL. In other words, the hard way. Meredith was an undrafted free agent in 2015 who signed with the Bears and then had to fight his way onto the roster. Not an easy thing to do. As it turns out though, underdog receivers have had a long history of success with this franchise. In fact the two all-time leaders in receiving yards come from similar backgrounds.
Johnny Morris, who remains #1 with 5,059 was a lowly 12th round draft pick in 1958. The guy right below him on the list? That would be Harlon Hill, a 15th round pick out of North Alabama in 1954. The two men came from humble beginnings but they ended up combining for five Pro Bowls and two championship game appearances. Dick Gordon, a two-time Pro Bowler, was a seventh round pick in 1965.
That’s not a coincidence. That’s a trend. For whatever reason the Bears are a haven for overachieving wide receivers. Meredith looks like he’s next in line, and he may be the most fortunate depending on whether Mitch Trubisky pans out as the quarterback they envision.