Trio of veterans battling for roster spot at Bears rookie camp
Swain hoping to make the Bears roster (Joe Nicholson - USA Today Sports)

Trio of veterans battling for roster spot at Bears rookie camp


by - Senior Writer -

Although the NFL season is still a few months away, now is the time when teams start to gear up for the rest of the offseason, which all starts with Mini Camp. Although not the most important aspect of a team's offseason workouts, this is a crucial part of a rookie's development as this is the first time they get on the field with the coaches.

The better they look now, the better things will be once training camp gets underway, as both the Bears draft picks and undrafted rookies are taking up the center of attention. To fill out their roster heading into camp, 24 total rookies have been invited to rookie mini-camp with one goal in mind: to make the Bears roster heading into the regular season.

While the rookies are going to generate the most attention right now, it's not just rookies who are looking to impress, but veterans as well. The Bears have brought in a few veterans and will give them an opportunity to make this team. Two of those veterans hail on the offensive side of the ball, and the other one is coming on defense. These guys will use mini-camps to impress the coaching staff and aim to prove they still have something left.

On defense, Parry Nickerson will be looking to play in his sixth NFL season, as he has bounced around a ton since being drafted in 2018. The former Tulane DB was drafted by the New York Jets in the sixth round back in 2018 and has played on five teams since entering the league, including the Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, and Miami Dolphins.

Apart from his rookie season, when he played in all 16 games, Nickerson has yet to see much action as he has played in 14 games the past four seasons. Nickerson has yet to make much of an impact, as he has registered zero interceptions and one pass deflection, but he has also come away with 33 tackles, including one for a loss. Adding him to an already improving defense will solely be for depth purposes, but you could see him used on Special Teams, given the new kickoff rules.

Switching over to the offense now, which has been the center of attention for the Bears all offseason, you will see veteran Tommy Sweeney getting an opportunity to make this team. A seventh-round pick for the Buffalo Bills in 2019, Sweeney spent his entire four-year career with the Bills while also sitting out the 2020 COVID season.

Sweeney isn't known much for his offense, but he has 18 receptions for 165 yards across 24 games and one touchdown. However, Sweeney has largely been known as a great blocking TE, and with Mercedes Lewis no longer in Chicago, the Bears are looking for a block-first TE to take his place. Sweeney could be that guy and will be given a ton of chances to prove it.

The most intriguing veteran to show up in mini-camp is former Seattle Seahawks WR Freddie Swain. Drafted in the sixth round by the Seahawks in 2020, Swain has yet to see a ton of action in the past few years but immediately made an instant impact. After picking up 159 yards and two TDS on 13 receptions as a rookie, Swain broke out in year two and had the Seahawks feeling like they found a late-round steal.

It was in the 2021 season when Swain played in all 17 games, picking up a career-high 25 receptions for 343 yards and four scores. Since that season, Swain has fallen about as far off the map as you can, as he has played in eight games since 2021, picking up four receptions for 74 yards. However, despite the decline in yards and playing time, Swain still impacted the return game, which could be why the Bears are giving him a look right now.

While nothing major is expected of any of these guys, if the Bears get some form of production from them, you have to look at that as a win. Expect a few more moves like this to come as we approach training camp, as the Bears still have roster spots to fill.

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