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NFL: Dubuque Hempstead alum Josh Lenz signs with Chicago Bears

Chicago signs the former Hempstead prep as a free agent.

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Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013 12:00 am

Josh Lenz is getting the shot he wanted, and it's not too far away from his hometown.

The former Dubuque Hempstead product and Iowa State wide receiver signed on as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears on Saturday night.

"It happened pretty quick," Lenz said. "After taking a bunch of different calls, doing research, looking at the rosters and talking to my agent, I had to make a quick decision and I went with the Bears.

"It's pretty exciting and kind of surreal. It's pretty sweet to have the chance to play somewhere close to home as well."

Lenz has continued to train and talk to teams since his solid pro day on March 26, where the 5-foot-11, 201-pounder set four personal records in front of more than 20 National Football League scouts.

"I've been talking to a lot of teams," Lenz said. "They show a lot of interest, but you don't really know how serious they are. You kind of take it with a grain of salt. When the draft started (Saturday) I knew I had a chance of going in a late round, but more than likely a free agent guy."

When the seventh and final round of the draft began, Lenz began fielding calls from between 10 to 15 teams interested in bringing the former Mustangs all-state running back in as an undrafted free agent.

"You have to look at a lot of things, a lot goes into it," Lenz said. "You have to look behind the scenes, what the roster looks like and what kind of talent and how many wide receivers they have and who they picked up. After talking to my agent it was sort of a coin flip decision, but I felt comfortable with the Bears and ended up going with them."

With the help of his agent (and perhaps from his younger brother, Jordan, who happens to be a Bears fan), Lenz cut down his short list of teams to Arizona, Baltimore, Chicago, Green Bay, Jacksonville and Washington.

Chicago selected Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson with the 236th pick in the seventh round of the draft. Other weapons on the Bears' roster currently for quarterback Jay Cutler include all-pro Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery.

"I'll be playing wide receiver, for sure," Lenz said. "You have to look at (the roster) when making the decision. I was going to have to try and compete for a job no matter where I went. It's a business now and you have to earn your spot, and I look forward to that. I'm just excited to get this going.

"I really wasn't going to take (the proximity of the team to Iowa) into consideration. It's a business now and I want to go where I feel I have the best opportunity to succeed. When it came to the end, Chicago was still on the list and it will be rewarding to be close to home. There's lots of Bears fans in the family. Everything happens for a reason and I'm glad it worked out."

Lenz closed his career with the Cyclones with 104 receptions for 1,325 yards and 13 total touchdowns (10 receiving, two passing, one punt return).

What transpires in the coming months remains to be seen, but Lenz has earned the opportunity he's worked so hard for: a chance to earn a spot on an NFL roster. But now the real work begins.

"I still have some school to finish up with finals, and we'll just go from there," he said. "With minicamps and stuff, it's going to be a crazy couple of weeks. It's definitely going to be interesting. It's a business and I have to live with that. These (other wide receivers) are there to do the same job as me and I'm going to have to go in there and work and earn that spot."

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