NFL Draft 2020: Chicago community congratulates Cole Kmet with parade of cars after picked by hometown Bears

The NFL conducted its 2020 Draft remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, barring top prospects from the celebratory on-stage moments the event’s known for showcasing. When the Chicago Bears selected tight end Cole Kmet in the second round, though, the Notre Dame product got something better than a handshake and photo with commissioner Roger Goodell.

A parade of cars drove past Kmet’s home for 45 minutes flashing their lights and honking their horns as the community congratulated him for being selected by the Bears with the 43rd pick. Kmet grew up in Lake Barrington, Illinois — about 50 miles from Soldier Field — and now lives nearby Arlington Heights.

“We would go to the games every once in a while,” Kmet told reporters after his selection, “and it’s just pretty amazing to know that now I’m going to be suiting up for my hometown team.”

With social-distancing rules in place to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, Kmet wasn’t the only NFL Draftee to receive a vehicle-based celebration. Many Oregon coaches, including head coach Mario Cristobal, lined Justin Herbert’s driveway to honk their horns and cheer for the quarterback upon the Los Angeles Chargers selecting him sixth overall.

After catching a combined 17 passes his first two seasons in South Bend, Kmet exploded for 43 receptions, 515 yards and six touchdowns in 2019. He and 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen will look to replace the production of new Colts tight end Trey Burton, who Chicago cut this offseason.

If the parade is any indication, Arlington Heights is thrilled for Kmet to begin his NFL journey with their local team. 

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