Bears sign rookie punter Tory Taylor to a four-year contract

Bears sign rookie punter Tory Taylor to a four-year contract originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Rookie punter Tory Taylor signed his first NFL contract with the Bears, the team announced on Saturday.

“It was weird," Taylor started about signing his contract on Saturday. "I was texting my agent last night. I got a text late last night saying you’ll sign your deal tomorrow. And then I texted my parents this morning saying 'Hey I’m signing my deal today,' so that was pretty cool. But they’re fast asleep so they probably don’t even know because it would have been about 11 p.m. or midnight there. It’s pretty cool.

"When that stuff kind of comes up I really think about five years ago if someone told me that I’d be standing at the podium at an NFL facility I would have told them that they’re absolutely crazy. A lot’s kind of come about in the last three or four years. Like I said, I’m really just grateful to be here, really nice people in the building. It’s really just an honor. At the end of the day, it’s the Chicago Bears. Yesterday before my first ever punt period in the NFL, coach [Richard] Hightower came up to me and was like, ‘Man, you’re a Chicago Bear.’ That really helped me settle the nerves a little bit.

"Like I said, I’m just really grateful to be here, certainly come a long way in a few years.”

The Bears selected Taylor, 26, with the No. 122 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft; a fourth-round pick. They acquired that pick one year prior when they traded the Eagles the No. 9 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for the No. 10 pick and a 2024 fourth-rounder.

Taylor is known for having a monster leg and left Iowa with several NCAA records. His 46.3-yard avg. over his career and his 4,479 total punt yards in 2023 are both the best marks of all time. Taylor is also adept at pinning down opponents. He had 32 punts inside the 20-yard line last season and his punts led to 29 fair catches in 2023.

For his efforts, Taylor was named a unanimous All-American last year and won the Ray Guy Award, which recognizes the top punter in the nation.

Shortly after the draft, the Bears cut ties with Trenton Gill, who the Bears drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. It's all about Taylor and the Bears are excited about the future of their special teams.

"I was super excited as our whole draft room was, as Ryan was, as coach [Matt Eberflus] was," Hightower said to CHGO. "... The fire and the passion in that room when Tory was drafted was unbelievable; a resounding support. If you really know a lot about football, or even if you know a little about football, but you know every yard matters.

"To get a guy that could be a weapon for us in this phase of the game is just really, really cool."

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