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Bears rookie Tarik Cohen is balling like Gale Sayers

Former North Carolina A&T running back is the first rookie to have a rushing, receiving, passing and punt return for a touchdown since 1965

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen just barely escaped the grasp of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Aldrick Robinson. We’re talking fingertips here. He took in Bradley Pinion’s 44-yard punt at the Bears’ 39-yard line.

He moved to his right and cut back 14 yards to the Bears’ 25-yard line. As the rookie continued to backtrack — y’all really gotta watch this play — it dawned on him to do a spin and hit the left side of the field.

The play was designed to go left, and frankly, it couldn’t have been any worse than the right side of the field, where five 49ers players were bearing down on Cohen. But the 49ers’ aggressiveness actually played to his benefit.

A punt return that looked like it had less of a chance to succeed than the New England Patriots when the team was down 28-3 in the third quarter of the Super Bowl ended with Cohen in the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown. CBS broadcasters estimated that Cohen had run 127 yards and put Chicago up, 14-6, in the second quarter.

But Cohen, a North Carolina A&T product, did all of that running in a losing effort, as the Bears fell 15-14 to the 49ers at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

“I was worried that I might get tackled for a loss of yards,” Cohen told the Chicago Tribune. “But in that case, just like my coaches always tell me, I’ve got to trust my speed, go with the plan and get back left.”

And thanks to the special teams’ score, Cohen became the first rookie to have a rushing, receiving, passing and punt return for a touchdown since Bears great Gale Sayers in 1965. Terry Metcalf of the St. Louis Cardinals was the last player to accomplish the feat, a decade after Sayers.

“The worst part was after I got in the end zone,” Cohen told the Tribune. “The celebrating, that’s the most tiring part of the whole play.”

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.