Chicago Sun-Times

Rookie WR Sanzenbacher shines in grand finale

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When Dane Sanzenbacher turned around after returning a punt 66 yards for a touchdown in the Bears' 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night at Soldier Field, he was disappointed to see a penalty flag that brought it back.

But not that disappointed. Though the return was nullified, it doesn't mean the play didn't happen.

That's the beauty of preseason football. Everything is on film, whether it counted or not.

''It was great,'' Sanzenbacher said about the punt return. ''Anything you can do to try to turn heads at this point is a positive step. You hate to see the flag on the ground when you turn around. But I can't remember the last time I returned a punt. It was probably in high school. So it was pretty cool being out there and doing it.''

The nullified punt return typified an eventful night for Sanzenbacher in the Bears' preseason finale. He muffed his first punt return, but recovered it to avoid disaster. The undrafted rookie from Ohio State also had four receptions for 50 yards and lost three yards on an end around.

''It was solid,'' Sanzenbacher said regarding his performance. ''Obviously I've yet to play a perfect game, so you can't say that. I mean anytime you play that many snaps, there's always going to be plays you can find something that you could do differently.

''But it was nice to get out there and be able to get the ball in your hands a little bit. We got a ton of opportunities and a ton of stuff on film. It was a great opportunity for everybody.''

If he hasn't made the Bears' 53-man roster, he likely has made somebody's. But it appears he's done enough to earn a spot in Chicago.

''I hope so,'' he said. ''Obviously every team is looking for something different. We've got so many great players on this team. It's going to be a tough decision for them regardless, I now that. I'm glad it's there's and not mine.''

It probably will be a surprise if Sanzenbacher doesn''t make the roster. But he wasn't expecting anything.

''I'm just grateful for the opportunities I've gotten,'' he said. ''Because as an undrafted free agent, the coaches gave me every chance in the world to make this team. It's on nobody but me, whatever happens.

''It's going to be a tough wait, obviously. And then knowing at any time in that 48 hours you could get a call and it could go either way. But it's part of the game, it's what you've been waiting for. This has been the longest interview process. It started in January, so I guess I'm glad to finally be at this point.''

The next move is the Bears'.

''There's no point in sweating it out at this point, just because you feel like you've done everything you could to try to make this team,'' Sanzenbacher said. ''There are always things you wish you can improve on. But if I could say I was sitting in this situation a month and a half ago when I walked into camp, I'd take it.'

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5 Comments

I coached this kid in high school. I can only tell the Bears what I told the Buckeyes. You will not regret keeping this guy. He has "IT". Great person and great player.

Rookie Dane Sanzenbacher certainly made one last splash last night, it will be interesting to see if the Bears do keep him? The punt return for a TD is gonna really help his cause.

I liked what I seen from some of the young defensive linemen, rookie Mario Addison caused some pressure and had 2 tackles for loss, and I see Henry Melton got himself a sack also. Melton is gonna make a name for himself this season, and Addison could prove to be a bigger find than Sanzenbacher.

A guy I'm curious about is rookie middle linebacker Dom DeCicco, who broke up a 3rd down pass last night. He's played pretty solid this pre-season and has some coverage ability, being a former college safety, and seems to be a nice fit as a cover-2 middle linebacker. DeCicco likes to hit and has nice size at 6-3 230lbs to hold up, it will be interesting to see how Chicago really feels about him? He might be practice squad bound. I think another practice squad bound player is safety Winston Venable, man that guy can hit, the linebacker/safety tweener is a straight up head hunter! If he doesn't pan at safety I bet he at least turns out to be a beast on special teams down the road GO BEARS!!

I now that. I'm glad it's there's and not mine.''

"I liked what I seen from some of the young defensive linemen, rookie Mario Addison caused some pressure and had 2 tackles for loss, and I see Henry Melton got himself a sack also. Melton is gonna make a name for himself this season, and Addison could prove to be a bigger find than Sanzenbacher."

Lets see what we have.

Ok big find "check",

name for himself "check"

It was game 4 of the preseason and Kevin didn't notice? "Check"

Melton got a sack against scrubs and Kevin is thrilled. "Check"

Hmm, hmmm, hmmmmm pretty standard Kevin stuff here, lets see what else is there:

"I think another practice squad bound player is safety Winston Venable, man that guy can hit, the linebacker/safety tweener is a straight up head hunter! If he doesn't pan at safety I bet he at least turns out to be a beast on special teams down the road GO BEARS!!"

Can hit "check"

Heach hunter "check"

GO BEARS !! (remembered to use all caps and extra exclamation points cause the caps didn't get the strong feelings or high volume across and one is never enough)

Yes, yes a very standard Kevin post, Sacre bleu I have missed something.

" I bet he at least turns out to be a beast "

Zoot a lor what is this
oh how on earth could I miss
such a sweet little wonderful post
Quel dommage
Almost lost
a "beast" Kevin tossed
before seeing that something was wrong

what goes first to complete
a beast they must keep

not the whole or entire
but word that gives it fire
aaaaaaa TOTALLY wonderful word

Total beast should be there
a beast alone looks so square

oh so close oh so near
a "total beast" almost there

what loss what shame
what a wonderful name

oh so close oh so far
you were almost a big star
but alas you have lossed
the beast you just tossed

Now, that was a game!

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on September 2, 2011 12:07 AM.

Closer look at backup running backs was the previous entry in this blog.

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