Bears Confirm They’re Converting TE to New Position

Matt Eberflus

Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is trying something new with former TE Sammis Reyes.

Sammis Reyes is getting some looks on the defensive line for the Chicago Bears.

Reyes is the first Chilean native to play in the NFL, and the Bears signed the former Washington Commanders tight end to their practice squad on October 18.

A former basketball standout at Tulane, Reyes elected to switch to football after college and joined the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, which led to an opportunity to showcase his athleticism at the University of Florida’s Pro Day in March of 2021. He made the most out of the opportunity, running the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds while also leaping for a 40″ vertical and netting 10’5″ in the broad jump.

The Commanders were impressed, and he wound up making their 53-man roster last year as a tight end. Now, it looks as though Chicago is trying something different with the hyper-athletic Reyes.

Bears Trying Sammis Reyes Out as a Pass Rusher

At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Reyes is a specimen, and it’s clear Bears head coach Matt Eberflus wants to see what he can do as a pass rusher.

Reyes confirmed the potential position switch to Bears insider Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune on November 14.

“We’ll take this week to see how everything goes,” Reyes said, per Biggs. “We’ll have a conversation next week. I’m having fun with it. I’m enjoying it. I am trusting Coach. He knows what he’s doing. I’m putting my head down and working — whatever they want me to do.”

So far, the early word has been positive where Reyes is concerned.

“He’s not that raw,” Bears special teams coach Jim Dray told Biggs about Reyes. “He’s not a fish out of water.”

Reyes Will Be PS Candidate to Watch Moving Forward

Reyes played in 11 games for the Commanders last season, starting one. He played a total of 39 snaps on offense for Washington, also playing 53% of the team’s special teams snaps. A soft tissue issue kept him off the field towards the latter part of the season. The injury bug bit again when he suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason this year. Reyes wound up getting released with an injury settlement, but he made a lasting impression on the people he worked with while he was in Washington.

“He was coming along,” former Washington tight ends coach Pete Hoener told Biggs about Reyes. “He busted his ass and learned. He could take hard coaching and didn’t flinch. He was on a mission. He had — not great — but good ball skills, and I think after a while he would get a better feeling for that once he got a little more experience. He missed some time there at the end of the year … that is when he was going to play.”

The work ethic is there, and this would be quite the story if this conversion to D-line works out for Reyes. It’s a long shot, of course, but he’s loving the switch so far.

“I’ve played it for a couple days, but defensive end feels like me,” Reyes told Biggs.

That’s a good sign. It will be interesting to see how he develops on defense.

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