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Familiar Punt Returner Added to Roster

Dante Pettis is back with the Bears after a season away with a neck injury.

The Bears have a punt return prospect, same as the old punt return prospect.

They signed back wide receiver Dante Pettis to a one-year deal after he had been injured last year and missed the entire season while Trent Taylor did returns.

Pettis suffered a neck injury in preseason against the Indianapolis Colts and said he had been hoping to come back later in the season after getting cleared medically to return at midseason.

"I was staying ready all last season once I get cleared just in case the call came," he said. "It never came. So I was just enjoying the first part of the offseason and now I'm ready to work."

Now he's back ready to resume work at Halas Hall. He thinks his abilities as a technician in the passing game caught coach Matt Eberflus' eye.

"I think that he just likes how I run routes, understand the game," Pettis said. "He likes what I bring to the (receiver) room. It's my seventh year now, which is kinda crazy, but I feel like I have seen a lot of football and that's definitely something that is valued here I think. I would say a big part of it is the route running though."

Taylor averaged 8.2 yards on 31 punts last year after Pettis suffered the injury. Pettis took over punt returns in 2022 after Velus Jones Jr. had problems muffing the ball in key situations. Pettis averaged 9.1 yards on 18 returns and also caught 19 passes for 245 yards.

Pettis set an NCAA record with nine punt return TDs at Washington but hasn't shown that type of explosion in the NFL. However, his work for the Bears at this was better than he showed with the 49ers and Giants before he came to Chicago.

"I didn't do probably as well I wanted to on some of them, but I know there were flashes of what I can do," Pettis said. "I think that a lot of people saw that too."

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