From the Cal Bears to the Chicago Bears, former tight-end Jake Tonges procured his professional football dreams Aug. 30, as he was named to an NFL 53-man roster.
An impact player during his four year crusade with the blue and gold, Tonges saw action on the turf in 41 of 42 possible games with 23 career starts from 2018-21. The 6’5” tight end logged 47 receptions for 620 yards and four touchdowns during his collegiate tenure, recording several career bests of 22 catches and 278 receiving yards in his redshirt senior campaign.
Ever since the cease of a mediocre 2021 season for the Bears, the road to NFL opportunity has been an uphill battle for Tonges. The Los Gatos, California, local entered the transfer portal in early December 2021, but less than a month later, decided to forgo his final season of collegiate reliability by declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft. Analysts and critics alike questioned Tonges’ verdict, and he was not featured among any highlighted tight end prospects. And when glorious draft night rolled around, Cal’s former star went unselected.
As an undrafted free agent, Tonges signed with the Chicago Bears and competed in the team’s rookie minicamp before landing a training camp opportunity. As the Chicago football franchise released a 53-man roster to round off the month of August, the Bears’ coaching staff made it clear that Tonges’ versatility was the utmost appealing component of the decision.
Once spending his Saturdays in Strawberry Canyon as a tight end, Tonges will now transition into playing both tight end and full-back for the Chicago Bears. Behind the likes of Khari Blasingame on the depth chart, the position adjustment could work to ensure Tonges’ role on the practice squad, as few teams are in search of an inexperienced tight end. Analysts have raved about Tonges’ athletic blocking ability, and it will certainly be interesting to observe his transition into a somewhat oversized full-back.
Although NFL depth chart selection and roster cuts are a brutal element of the game, and the future is evidently unknown, Cal football fans are excited to see yet another former Bear find opportunity in the big league.