The Chicago Bears promoted Artavis Pierce from the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday after placing Tarik Cohen on IR. Cohen tore his ACL Sunday against Atlanta.
The former Oregon State running back had a career senior season in Corvallis last year rushing for six touchdowns, 873 yards on 146 carries averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He also added one touchdown and 169 yards on 23 catches.
Pierce began the season backing up Jermar Jefferson, but the senior took over the starting job while Jefferson dealt with an ankle injury. Pierce played in all 12 games, starting seven, including a season-best 141 yards against Stanford.
By the end of his college career, Pierce had run for 2,127 rushing yards, 10th in OSU history, and averaged 5.8 yards per carry, the best mark in program history.
He went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft but signed with Chicago as a free agent, giving the Beaver a $6,000 signing bonus and guaranteeing another $5,000 in base salary.
The Bears cut him from the active roster but added him to the practice squad where they protected him, making him ineligible to be signed away by a different team.
During the preseason with starting running back David Montgomery nursing a groin strain, there was speculation that Pierce would make the active roster as the Bears didn't sign any new backs to start the season.
One anonymous scout told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune Pierce has qualities that make him an NFL-caliber running back.
“He might really fit what they are doing there because when you look at the Oregon State system, they were heavy inside zone, a little outside zone, but they were a zone-based run game,” a national scout for another team said. “So he’s going to have a feel for what they’re asking him to do and he understands where the ball is supposed to hit. Not real big and he doesn’t break a lot of tackles. He’s not going to run through NFL defenders.
“He’s quicker than fast. I didn’t see the timed speed on tape. He plays more in the 4.5 range, which is fine. He’s got speed through the hole through to the second level, and that’s what is most important. He moves well laterally. But this kid isn’t going to break tackles like Montgomery. Not a pass catcher, at least how they utilized him. He might have a chance.”
Pierce may get his first career carry this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts in the Windy City.