The one thing wide receiver Darnell Mooney has craved throughout his football career is respect, and he has rarely gotten it.
His high school career wasn’t good enough to get any major scholarship offers despite playing within an easy drive of Alabama and Auburn. The electricity he showed at Tulane was unconvincing, and he waited until nearly the end of the fifth round to get drafted. The Bears actually took two other players in the fifth round before grabbing Mooney at No. 173 overall.
He went 25th among receivers, but ranks third in his class in catches (143), sixth in yards receiving (1,694) and seventh in touchdown receptions (eight) heading into the Bears’ game against the Packers on Sunday.
Given that he’s done nothing but ascend, it seems like the football world would eventually have to concede that Mooney is the real thing. But even after a strong rookie season and somehow extracting a 1,000-yard performance from the Bears’ dreadful offense last season, he is still mostly dismissed as a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
He wants to change minds, but he’s beginning to accept that he might not be able to.
“I want to have my name known — that’s respect in the league,” Mooney told the Sun-Times. “I’m here and I’m gonna be here for a while and I’m gonna be a threat. I want that type of respect.
“But I know what I can do. I have respect for myself. I can’t do anything about it if I don’t get respect from others, but it would be a nice thing to have. Somebody’s always going to have something to say, regardless of where you’re at. I’m sure guys are saying something now about Tom Brady. It’s always something.”
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