Oct 19, 2023 - Sports

What to know about Bears backup quarterback Tyson Bagent

Tyson Bagent reacts after a touchdown last week at Soldier Field. Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

When the Bears play the Las Vegas Raiders at Soldier Field on Sunday, fans will most likely see an undrafted rookie under center.

What's happening: Backup quarterback Tyson Bagent is lined up to start for the injured Justin Fields, and Bears fans haven't been this excited since the Chad Hutchinson era.

Reality check: Wait, Tyson who? The QB's name is pronounced BAY-gent. It rhymes with agent, like, "This kid must have a great agent, since he's the only Division II quarterback currently playing in the NFL."

Flashback: The Bears cut veteran PJ Walker in the preseason to give the backup quarterback slot to Bagent.

Here's what you should know about Bagent ahead of his first NFL game:

His home state: West Virginia. He played at Shepherd University. There, he set the NCAA record (all divisions) for passing touchdowns.

Fun fact: He won the Harlon Hill award, which is like the Heisman Trophy of division II football.

  • Harlon Hill was a star on the Bears in the '50s and '60s.

The intrigue: Word has it that Bagent chose to stay in Division II instead of transferring to a bigger program school, like Maryland or West Virginia.

His vibe: "He's got this moxie," said Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham. Several players talked about his confidence and swagger.

  • Also, with several tattoos down his left arm and across most of his torso, he's the first Bears starting QB in recent memory with a sleeve tattoo.

Winning culture: Most quarterbacks have family who have excelled at sports. Bagent is no different. His father, Travis Bagent, is a 17-time arm wrestling world champion.

Non-football plans: The Athletic asked him about what he'd be doing if he didn't sign with an NFL team.

  • "I was going to basically just CrossFit my life away, get as ripped and jacked as I possibly could and be a teacher at Martinsburg High School."

The bottom line: It's unclear whether his unexpected path to the NFL will win him games, but it does make it fun to root for him.


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