David Ball has key catch in Chicago Bears 20-19 win

David Ball entered Houston’s Reliant Stadium for the second time – this time as a professional – and left the Texans’ home turf with a little lighter step.

The Chicago Bears played their first pre-season game on Saturday night against the Houston Texans, winning in come-from-behind fashion, 20-19.

Ball, a rookie wide receiver who signed a free agent contract with the Bears in April, played in Reliant earlier this spring in the East-West All-Star game.

Ball was sent into the game late in the second half, but the 2002 Spaulding High School graduate was not about to feel bad for himself and waste the minutes.

“I knew I wouldn’t come in until the second half,” said Ball, a 2002 Spaulding High School graduate. “But beggars can’t be choosers.”

On the final drive, on second-and-19, Ball caught a pass from Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton, and according to the team’s Web site, he spun away from a defender, and provided the Bears with a 20-yard gain for a first down with just over a minute to go.

From there the Bears moved closer and kicked the winning field goal with seconds remaining.

“I went in with the mentality that whenever I go in, I’m going to make the best of it and get noticed,” Ball said in a phone interview Sunday. “I wanted to give the coaches something they won’t forget, and I did that on that last drive. It was a good night overall.”His parents, Ken and Kathy Ball, did not make the trip to Texas, but Ball said his parents were able to watch the game at the family camp on NFL Network, which aired the game on tape-delay at midnight Sunday.

“They watched; they had fun,” Ball said.

Ironically, the game also marked the first professional sporting event Ball had seen since attending a Red Sox baseball game when he was considerably younger.

Ball now looks to next Monday, Aug. 20, when the Bears travel to face the defending NFL Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, one of three remaining pre-season match-ups before the opening kickoff against the Chargers in San Diego on Sept. 9.

Between now and then, Ball will still fight for one of seven or eight wide receiver spots on the active roster.

“It’s tough to tell,” Ball said of where he stands in terms of making the final roster at the beginning of September. “We have 11 receivers right now for seven or eight spots. I have to clearly outplay someone for a spot. I have three more games to make a name for myself, and right now it’s up in the air.”

While Ball appears to be in good standing with Chicago, University of New Hampshire teammate Tucker Peterson of Mill River hasn’t seen the same degree of success.

Peterson, who signed a free-agent contract with the Washington Redskins the same day Ball signed with the Bears, has since left Washington and took part in a tryout camp with the New York Jets.

“They liked what I did, but they just thought I was a little small,” Peterson, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 310-pound offensive lineman for the Wildcats, said by phone on Sunday afternoon. “They said they’d call back if someone was injured.”

For now, Peterson is home working out and waiting for that phone call.

“I’m still waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Peterson said, “and see how things play out.”