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Jonathan Owens driven by dogged determination



There’s no better word to describe new Bears safety Jonathan Owens than “persistent.”

Defined as “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition,” it’s something that the 28-year-old has embodied since entering the NFL with the Cardinals in 2018 as an undrafted free agent from Division II Missouri Western State.

“Regardless of my role or whatever it’s going to be, I’m going to maximize it. I’m coming here to compete.”
Bears safety Jonathan Owens
Owens sustained a season-ending torn ACL during the final week of OTA practices as an Arizona rookie and then spent most of the next three seasons on the Texans practice squad, appearing in just 14 games.

His big break came late in the 2021 campaign when he made the most of his second NFL start. Replacing a teammate who was sidelined with COVID, Owens intercepted Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert to help the Texans upset the Chargers 41-29 in Houston.

Owens then started all 17 games in 2022 in Lovie Smith’s only season as Texans coach, recording a career-high 125 tackles and four pass breakups.

The St. Louis native signed with the Packers last year and opened the season as a backup. But he excelled in place of injured regular Rudy Ford and retained his starting position after Ford had recovered from his injury.

It’s no surprise what Owens believes has enabled him to overcome so many obstacles and establish himself as an NFL player.

“Persistence,” he said, “because [I was] told I wasn’t good enough for the first three years of my career; just kept getting cut and [moved] up and down on the practice squad. But just being persistent and having that faith in God that everything was going to work out.”

The two-year contract that Owens signed with the Bears this week is the latest evidence that it’s worked out. And while it’s unclear what his role will be on a defense that boasts a deep young secondary, history indicates that he should not be overlooked or underestimated.

“Regardless of my role or whatever it’s going to be, I’m going to maximize it,” Owens said. “I’m coming here to compete. Obviously, no one wants to come in and say, ‘I’m coming in to play as a backup.’ I know what I can do on special teams. I know what I can do on defense. I feel like that’s what makes me a very valuable asset to a team because I can do whatever you need me to do and be versatile. I’m excited for the challenge, and wherever they feel they want me to be and feel that I’m best at, I’m ready to do it.”

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