Dontrelle Inman: 5 things to know about the new Bears receiver
Showdown with D.J. Moore
Moore, a former Bears cornerback, once covered Inman in a South Carolina high school playoff game in 2005. Inman, playing for Batesburg-Leesville, got the better of the matchup on one play against Moore, who was playing for defending Class 2A champion Broome. “(Moore) tipped it and Dontrelle went up and caught the ball. That sort what was getting us going offensively,” said then-coach Courtney McInnis, now an assistant coach at White Knoll in Lexington, S.C.
Inman caught the winning touchdown pass with less than a minute left, ending Broome’s 18-game winning streak.
“That propelled us onto the state championship that year and got his name out and got his film out that, hey, this kid can play,” McInnis said.
The fire hazard
McInnis lauded what a great student Inman was — “I remember in school he wanted to be the best at his grades” — and University of Virginia film professor Kevin Everson echoed those sentiments.
“He was really engaging, worked hard, tried to help everybody else,” Everson said.
Inman was a digital art major and Everson recalled how he “did this really sweet installation for his senior show. … The installation had all this hay, it had all these crazy monitors. It was fascinating because the people were thinking it was a fire hazard but they let him do it anyway because it was cool.”
“It was a fire hazard. All that hay, those wires in it,”Everson laughed.
A common theme among Inman’s coaches, teammates and Inman himself is his reliability, particularly his route-running.
“If you want one quality for a player, you want them to have dependability,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Dontrelle is a good player. He makes plays. He runs good routes. His main thing is he is dependable. You can count on him to run the right route, to play any position, to do his job every day.”
McInnis talked about his work ethic in high school: “You couldn’t tell practice from the game.”
In 2012, Inman told the CFL’s website the key to keeping his then-new starting role with the Toronto Argonauts was dependability.
“I just have to be consistent, continue to do what I do,” he said. “If I continue to catch the ball and continue to be reliable, it’ll be up to the coaches.”
Any Bears fan would appreciate this: Inman’s first NFL touchdown pass came against the Packers in Lambeau Field in 2015. He also caught the pass that put Rivers over the 40,000-yard threshold for his career.
Like Moore, Inman was a two-way player in high school. So when the Chargers were down to a handful of healthy defensive backs in a 2015 game against the Raiders, Inman played a couple of snaps at safety late in the game.
“I’ve always dreamed of it because I played (defense) for so long in high school,” Inman said via ESPN.com.