It’s always a noteworthy occasion when a hometown kid is trying to make the Chicago Bears’ roster in training camp, but this year that goes double for wide receiver Thomas Ives and tight end Ian Bunting, as the former high school teammates both try to make the 53-man squad.
“It’s pretty special to have someone you grew up playing against here with you, and to have someone to hang out with in the locker room,” Bunting said.
Both Bunting and Ives grew up playing football against each other, then became teammates at Hinsdale Central High School. Ives attended Colgate, and Bunting went to Cal, but the duo has reunited on the practice fields of Bourbonnais in a quest to make a team that both grew up rooting for.
“The first day was pretty cool, because it brings back memories of being a kid and watching the news and seeing the Bears report to Bourbonnais,” Ives said.
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That proximity to home is something that both players treasure, as their families have been able to make the drive south and take in the training camp experience at Olivet Nazarene University.
“I can’t even begin to say how lucky I am to have the support from my family and to have them be so close that they can drive down,” Bunting said.
Both players are considered long-shots to make the Bears’ 53-man roster at the end of the preseason, but both figure to see some game action as the team begins its preseason slate on Aug. 8 against the Carolina Panthers.