Kinder Makes Chicago Connection

Some people remember telephone numbers quite easily, while others need to use speed dialing to organize them.

Fortunately for Derek Kinder, he has a sharp memory. And that helped the former Pittsburgh wideout get taken by the Chicago Bears late in the seventh round during the NFL Draft Sunday.

"I was on the phone with Chicago for the whole three minutes when they were picking, and they told me I was going to be a Bear,'' Kinder said. "So, basically, I just waited for them to pick me. Then, I saw my name come across the screen.

"But I was on the phone with Dallas when Chicago beeped in. Dallas didn't have any draft picks left, so they wanted to bring me in as a free agent and wanted to sign me right then. But I knew Chicago's area code and clicked over to it. I had talked to the Chicago scout before, so I kind of remembered the number.''

The Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers also showed some interest in Kinder, but nothing panned out there. It didn't hurt that Chicago's director of college scouting the past six seasons, Greg Gabriel -- Kinder's primary contact with the Bears -- is from the Buffalo area where Kinder grew up.

Gabriel and Kinder hit it off immediately and began to reminisce. So, that's one reason that Kinder is happy to be going to Chicago. Another is that the Bears' depth at wide receiver is limited at best.

"I didn't do any research on the Bears, but I follow the NFL pretty well and know something about them,'' Kinder said. "They were in the Super Bowl just a few years ago, and with the addition of (quarterback) Jay Cutler I believe they're a playoff contender now. And maybe even a Super Bowl contender.

"It's also a real good situation for me, because they don't have much depth at receiver. I believe they only have three or four receivers on their roster right now and I'm one of three that they brought in, so I've just got to go in there and work hard. I've got a foot in the door, but I have to open it completely.''

Along with Kinder, Chicago drafted Jauquin Iglesias from Oklahoma and Johnny Knox from Abilene Christian during the second day. And Eric Peterman from Northwestern was signed as an undrafted free agent after that.

The new group joins holdover wideouts like fifth-year pro Rashied Davis from San Jose State, three-year veterans Devin Aromashodu from Auburn and Brandon Rideau from Kansas and second-year players Earl Bennett from Vanderbilt and John Broussard from San Jose State.

"I know it's a tough road for players taken late in the draft, and I'll have to play special teams, which I have no problem doing that,'' Kinder said. "But they told me I have a chance to compete for that third or fourth wide receiver spot, and that's all I can ask for. I just want to a chance, and what I do with it is up to me.

"But they don't have a lot of depth at wide receiver. They mostly have young guys there, so we all have a good shot to break onto the depth chart. The first thing I need to do is make the team, and then I'll worry about playing time. So, I just need to go to mini-camp and show them they made a good choice.''

Kinder's initial audition in Chicago is this weekend.

Note: Former Pitt player Joe Clermond is listed as a first-year pro on the Bears roster as a defensive end.

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