When the Chicago Bears signed Equanimeous St. Brown in the spring, most people did the equivalent of a shrug. All they knew at that point was he’d been a 7th round pick of the Green Bay Packers and was never overly productive during his stint. He became best known for his run blocking and special teams work. Fans and media assumed that is why the Bears signed him in the first place. He wasn’t a serious factor in the team’s passing game.
Nobody seems to have told St. Brown that. Through the first week of training camp, the receiver has spent much of his time with the first-team offense and seems to be developing a legitimate connection with Justin Fields. The two were a lethal combination in red zone work. It was the first indication the team might be taking the receiver more seriously than anticipated. Part of that might be because of how he arrived at Halas Hall in the first place.
In a word? Angry.
Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic spoke with St. Brown about the process that led to his joining the Bears. Much of it was getting a chance to rejoin Luke Getsy, whom he admired. However, it became obvious right away what his underlying motivation was. He wanted a chance to get back at the Packers. His comments indicated a player who felt spurned by a team that never gave him a real chance, and getting cut was the worst kind of betrayal.
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As he talked with The Athletic in Halas Hall last week and thought back to getting that call, he remembered uttering a four-letter word, and a moment he would prefer never happen again.
“Your body is all hot and you’re waiting, it’s a terrible feeling,” he said. “I don’t want to rethink about it.”
“I would say the only difference was that emotionally, the feeling of being cut is terrible,” he said. “I always had the same drive. I wouldn’t say it motivated me more, but it just makes you a little angry. Other than that, I’m always doing my best, working hard. Maybe people saw more emotion out of me because I’m usually calm and level-headed.”
Sometimes that is what it takes to jolt a player into action. They can often get complacent with their position, thinking they have a job and that’s enough. Then they get cut. It is an unpleasant experience. After all his sacrifices to help the Packers win, they reward him with walking papers. Some players never recover it. Others use it as fuel, driving them to work harder than ever. They’re going to show everybody in that building they made a huge mistake.
Fields to ESB pic.twitter.com/iRz1WF51js
— Chicago Football Connection (@CFCBears) July 30, 2022
Equanimeous St. Brown always had the talent to succeed.
Before getting drafted, many felt the Notre Dame standout was a lock for the top 50 picks. His combination of 6’5 size and sub-4.5 speed made him an enticing talent. For whatever reason, he fell to the 7th round. Some cited his incomplete route tree and questionable competitiveness as reasons for concern. Despite that, he had 328 yards in 12 games as a rookie. Then injuries ruined everything. He missed all of 2019 and the first four games of 2020. WHen he finally returned, it was too late.
Other receivers like Allen Lazard and Marques Valdez-Scantling established themselves as options behind Davante Adams. It is easy to think Equanimeous St. Brown feels like his chance to show what he can do was stolen from him. Here is an interesting stat. The receiver had five targets in a game three times as a rookie. He went for 89, 53, and 94 yards in those games.
That is proof he is productive when given opportunities.
Think about that. He had 236 yards on 15 targets. The Packers just never bothered to channel the football his way. For example, in that 94-yard game, Adams was targeted 18 times for 71 yards and a TD. St. Brown was more productive despite getting less than a third of the targets. Knowing this and his newfound motivation, it’s becoming easier to understand why the Bears signed him.