The Windy City Curse: How Does It Affect Former Gamecocks And Can Wide Receiver Damiere Byrd Overcome It?

Whenever a former South Carolina player ends up on the Bears, it just doesn’t work out for some reason. This has become especially true in the last decade.

Alshon Jeffery

It all started in 2012 when Alshon Jeffery was drafted in the second round by Chicago.

The curse started when he broke his hand in week five of the 2012 season. His time in Chicago came to an end when the Bears decided they weren’t going to pay him what he wanted after his rookie contract was up.

He also didn’t like the fact that Chicago’s quarterback room consisted of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in 2016. The Bears went 3-13, and Jeffery decided to move on to a better team in the Eagles.

Jeffery’s career in Chicago was full of injuries and one suspension, but he still was the most successful South Carolina alumnus to play for the Bears. He currently has the third most receiving yards in Bears history.

Connor Shaw

Connor Shaw was the next player to be signed by the Bears. Shaw might be the most loved quarterback in South Carolina history, but he struggled to find a place in the NFL. This was more because of injuries than anything else.

Shaw became a preseason star for the Bears in 2016 when he threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions in 16 pass attempts. This gave some Bears fans hope after suffering mediocre quarterback play with Jay Cutler.

Shaw unfortunately broke his leg in week three of the preseason, and that was it for the season. He returned in 2017 and looked solid again in the preseason. He injured his hamstring in week one of the preseason, and that was it for his career with the Bears.

Chicago ended up going with Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky that year. If Shaw stayed healthy, there’s no doubt in my mind he would’ve had a chance to start.

Mike Davis

Mike Davis is the next victim of this curse. In 2019, Chicago signed Davis to a two year contract. He was signed as a depth piece who was part of a crowded running back room with David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen.

The group actually became known as Run DMC to Bears fans.

Unfortunately, this three headed monster didn’t work out. Davis was coming off of a solid year in Seattle, but the Bears couldn’t figure out an effective way to use him with Montgomery and Cohen.

Montgomery ended up being the lead back in a struggling offense. The Bears released him midway through the season, he headed to Carolina where he found success.

Elliott Fry

Elliott Fry is the all-time points leader for South Carolina, but his NFL career never really took off. He joined Steve Spurrier in the AAF, but that league fell apart. The Bears were desperate for kickers because of the play that shall not be named in 2018 (Double-Doink).

Fry competed with former Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro, but he lost the comeptition due to Peneiro’s ability to kick touchbacks. Fry has spent his NFL career bouncing around teams, but he will always be a fan favorite in South Carolina.

Damiere Byrd

The latest South Carolina alumnus to sign with Chicago was Damiere Byrd. He signed a one year contract and is currently fighting for a starting spot on an overloaded receiving corps. Byrd has also been bouncing around teams, but he really found his rhythm in New England.

He now joins the Bears and will have to fight with Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller and Marquise Goodwin for a spot. The Bears have way too many speedy receivers, but Byrd could end up being  the kick returner after Cordarrelle Patterson’s departure.

If any player could break the curse, it would be Byrd. All of the former South Carolina players who have been a part of the Bears, they have either been on the offense or special teams.

Chicago has not had a successful offense in a long time due to a lack of a good quarterback. The Bears signed Andy Dalton as a placeholder until Justin Fields is ready to play. Even with Dalton starting, the Bears have upgraded at the quarterback position.

With a renewed offense, Byrd could finally find himself in a spot where he can succeed. The season is still far away, but only time will tell if he can break the curse the windy city has on South Carolina players.

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