Roquan Smith not suiting up for the Chicago Bears is unfortunate. However, it has also granted the coaching staff an opportunity to give other linebackers on the roster extra snaps in practice and the preseason. One of the later additions to the roster was a young man named DeMarquis Gates. Hailing from Ole Miss, he’s carved out a unique career. Rather than jump from practice squad to practice squad as a journeyman, Gates has played for different upstart spring leagues, including the AAF, XFL, and most recently, the USFL. He also had a stint in Canada.
Earlier this year, he was the defensive MVP of the eventual champion Birmingham Stallions. That was enough to garner interest from the Bears, who needed more depth at linebacker. Despite arriving late on August 6th, it looks like that didn’t hamper his chances of making the team. In the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, he made an immediate impact with three tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble.
— USFL (@USFL) August 13, 2022
Chicago Bears have quite a competition developing.
Gates wasn’t the only linebacker that stood out. Matthew Adams had seven tackles in the game, but the undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn stole the show. He had seven tackles, a tackle for a loss, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a pass defense. People were wondering if the Bears had to make a serious move to help the linebacker position. That may not be the case after what coaches saw on Saturday.
It would be a great story if Gates managed to secure a roster spot. He’s done everything there is to do except that. He was All-XFL, All-USFL, and is now a champion. Yet somehow, the 26-year-old failed in three previous attempts to make the final 53-man lineup. He is off to a great start this time. That preseason debut built some momentum for him. If he can carry it through the next two weeks, his chances of joining the Bears in September become likely.
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