Family affair: How Dante Pettis’ background helped lead to success in a rain-soaked Bears debut
Following the Bears’ 19-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, wide receiver Dante Pettis joined Bear Essentials with Cole Wright, Tom Thayer and Dan Hampton.
The five year veteran signed a one-year contract with the Bears prior to the season and made a huge impact in Sunday’s win over the 49ers. On 3rd-and-9 from the Bears’ own 49 yard line in the 3rd quarter with the rain playing a major factor all day, Justin Fields rolled out to his left and found a wide open Pettis down the right side of the field as he scampered 51 yards into the end zone for the team’s first touchdown of the season. It was Pettis’ only catch of the game; however, the catch turned the tide as the Bears scored 19 points in the second half.
“It was really just secure the catch. I knew I was wide open so I knew once I had the catch, I was going to have room to run,” Pettis said.
That 51-yard reception was the third longest touchdowns from scrimmage in a Bears debut in franchise history.
One of the key plays on that long touchdown reception came in the form of a block from fellow teammate Equanimeous St. Brown.
“I gave him a little shout out. I saw him running across the field. I was happy that he was there because I saw three defenders so once he was kind of getting in that DBs way, I knew I had a chance to score,” Pettis said, praising St. Brown.
While Sunday’s game had inclement weather, players have to make adjustments on routes and catching a slippery football going through warm-ups.
“It was one of those things where you just have to figure out how wet the ball is because there’s times where it’s raining and the ball doesn’t get that wet and you catch it normal. There’s times on Sunday where it’s pouring and the ball’s wet and it’s a little more slippery and so you have to figure out how you have to catch that,” Pettis said.
Pettis learned a lot of catching and receiving skills from his father, 5-time Gold Glove winner Gary Pettis.
Gary played 11 seasons in Major League Baseball as a center fielder with the Angels, Tigers, Rangers and Padres.
“Growing up, we did a lot of ball drills being able to track the ball, whether it’s a baseball or football and so I think that carries over a little bit,” Pettis said.
The main philosophy from head coach Matt Eberflus is the HITS principles, which stands for Hustle, Intensity, Takeaways and Smart plays. From the start of training camp through the first game of the regular season, the players have seemed to buy in to this philosophy.
“I think everyone has bought in. After training camp and especially after some of the preseason games where we’re playing the way they want us to play and you can see that it pays off,” Pettis said.
Catch the full interview with Pettis in the video above.