Bears rookie guard Alex Bars was one of the biggest prizes of the team's 2019 undrafted rookie class and now finds himself on the shortlist of candidates to replace right guard Kyle Long (injured reserve) in the starting lineup.
It's quite the ascent for a player who's spent all of 2019 on the practice squad until his promotion to the active roster this week.
The first crack at the gig is expected to go to Rashaad Coward, but don't dismiss Bars as a legitimate competitor. He was, after all, targeted by the New England Patriots, who tried to sign the former Golden Domer from Chicago's practice squad recently.
Bars confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago's JJ Stankevitz that he declined New England's offer to join their active roster.
"Just I felt like the opportunity here in this franchise was greater," Bars said.
Comfort and familiarity played a part, too. Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was Bars' collegiate position coach as well.
"(Hiestand) sees me like a son, I see him like a dad kind of relationship," said Bars. "He gets on me, no doubt, but he wants me to be my best and he cares so much about me, so we have a great relationship, yeah."
Having success in the NFL isn't just about a player's talent. Oftentimes, it comes down to his situation, his opportunity. For Bars, he made a calculated decision to remain in Chicago. It's one that will ultimately determine the direction and longevity of his career.
For now, he feels fortunate to be in the Windy City.
"I’m just thrilled to be here to be honest with you, really really lucky."