Bengals Chiefs Football

Kansas City Chiefs running back Josh Caldwell carries the ball for a 47-yard gain during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

One week after being released by his hometown team, Josh Caldwell is back on an NFL roster.

The Chicago Bears announced the signing of the free agent running back Monday afternoon. He will occupy the roster spot created Sunday when the Bears waived kicker Elliott Fry.

Caldwell, a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and a Lee’s Summit North graduate originally signed with the Chiefs on June 14 after earning a minicamp tryout earlier in the offseason.

He recorded a team-high 59 yards and scored a touchdown in the preseason-opening win against Cincinnati for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

He also collected a 47-yard rush in the fourth quarter to set up the score.

“It was just like a dream come true,” Caldwell said following the game. “You know, I’m really not supposed to be here. I’ve been through a lot in my past with the transfer and whatnot. Just to cap it off with my first NFL touchdown was a blessing.”

Caldwell was dismissed from Missouri Western in Matt Williamson’s first season, eventually graduating with his bachelor’s degree and transferring to rival Northwest Missouri State for his final season of eligibility.

His Chiefs teammates quickly took notice of his abilities on and off the field.

“He works hard every single day,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II said of Caldwell. “When you get out there and work hard every single day, usually good things happen. You saw him make the run and before that I thought he was going to get in that time, but he got it back in his hands and figured out a way to punch it in there.

“It was definitely a special thing for him and his family. I’m glad he got to do it in Arrowhead.”

Even if it wasn’t immediately with the Chiefs, his coaching staff saw a future in the NFL.

“I think they’re high,” he said. “I hope they’re high. When Josh Caldwell came here, he came to our local day, I really liked him. ... I emailed all of the running back coaches in the NFL and said, ‘Hey. I don’t know what you guys are doing with minicamp, but this is a guy y’all should take a look at.’

“And then luckily, what? Four, five weeks later, we had an opportunity to bring him back and just give him an opportunity. The guy can play, so we’ll see what happens with him, but I’ve always been a fan of Josh Caldwell.”

Caldwell will battle for a spot on Matt Nagy’s team as he joined the second-year coach, who is a former Chiefs offensive coordinator.

Caldwell’s backfield mates include Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis and recent Iowa State draftee David Montgomery.

Brandon Zenner can be reached at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.