- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler discussed on Monday the "hard case" the team would face near the end of camp if it decided to cut second-year receiver Dane Sanzenbacher or return man Eric Weems.
At this point, another of those cases just might be undrafted rookie receiver Brittan Golden of West Texas A&M.
"He's doing a good job," Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake said. "He's showing up, and that's what you want to do as a young player: have someone notice you. He's being noticed."
How? He's making plays at every opportunity. During the club's live periods early in camp, Golden consistently caught the ball while stringing together a few impressive moves to evade tacklers.
"Oh yeah, he's fast," special teams coach Dave toube said. "We're gonna get a look at him at returner (Thursday against Denver). He may get punt returns; definitely kick return. He's still working on his catching skills. But in the third and fourth quarter of the preseason game we'll get him in there. He's pretty exciting after the catch. He can run. You can see that out here at practice."
The problem, however, is the Bears might not have the numbers at the position with so many slots already pretty much locked up. Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Alshon Jeffery and Weems appear to have the top five spots secured, and it's important to remember the Bears actually finished the 2011 regular season with just five receivers on the 53-man roster.
So if the club decides to go heavy on the position and keep six receivers, Golden, Sanzenbacher and recently re-signed Rashied Davis will likely be in contention for that final spot on the roster. Brittan certainly appears to be a candidate for the practice squad. But if Golden plays well in the preseason, the Bears might have reservations about putting him on the practice squad because another team might swoop in and grab him.
Obviously, Davis has earned the trust of Toub while Sanzenbacher holds the edge over Golden by virtue of experience. So Golden needs to turn heads on special teams to unseat some of the veterans. It won't be easy.
"I think it all comes down to special teams play and how guys shine and don't in their special teams, and what their roles are gonna be," Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "But that's for coach (Lovie) Smith to make those decisions. They're going to get a lot of plays (in the preseason) as we know. We'll let the powers that be evaluate that and make that decision."
At West Texas A&M, Golden ranked second in school history in receiving yards (3,007) and fifth in receptions (165), catching 33 touchdown passes, which tied him for sixth in school history in career scoring. Golden racked up 3,393 career all-purpose yards, which included 30 punt returns for 274 yards and 10 kickoff returns for 112 yards.
So clearly, Golden has plenty of experience on special teams, and the opportunity of a lifetime despite the receiver's coach not knowing his name.
"Golden Brittan is a guy that does some things," Drake said. "They all have a chance to impress, get in there in the preseason and see where it takes them."