The Bears signed Ayers to a reserve/future contract Monday.
Ayers, a 2016 seventh-rounder, most recently played for the Steelers in 2016 when he appeared in two games in which he racked up six receptions, 53 receiving yards and one touchdown. He'll likely need an impressive offseason in order to have a chance at making the final roster, however.
Ayers caught a touchdown from Landry Jones in practice Friday, Mike Prisuta on Steelers.com reports.
It is encouraging to see a healthy Ayers, who had core-muscle surgery on both his legs following the 2016 season. Still, the battle for a wide receiver roster spot should be competitive all of training camp. Ayers' chances of making the team are temporarily aided by the fact that the league has yet to reinstate Martavis Bryant, prohibiting him from practicing with the team.
Ayers underwent core-muscle surgery on Tuesday, Mark Kaboly of DKPittsburghSports.com reports.
The procedure, which was performed on both sides of his legs, is more commonly known as sports-hernia surgery, and has an estimated recovery time of two months. Ayers spent most of the 2016 season on the practice squad, seeing action in just two games and logging two receptions on six targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. He'll look to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster next season.
Ayers (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's AFC championship game against the Patriots, TribLive.com reports.
Ayers played in the Steelers' previous two playoff games, and he isn't known to be nursing an injury, so his deactivation Sunday is somewhat surprising. However, he's buried on the depth chart and wouldn't have been worth fantasy consideration anyway.
Ayers totaled five receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' overtime win against the Browns on Sunday. He also ran twice for minus 12 yards.
Playing in just his second NFL game, Ayers led the team with 12 targets, and finished the season with six catches for 53 yards and the one score. His role should be greatly reduced next week against Miami with the return of Antonio Brown, who sat out this meaningless contest.
Ayers caught his only target for nine yards in the Steelers' 31-27 win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Playing in his first NFL game, the rookie receiver grabbed his first career catch, although his biggest contribution came when he drew a critical 35-yard pass interference call against rookie cornerback Tavon Young that set-up a Le'Veon Bell fourth-quarter touchdown run.
The Steelers have promoted Ayers to their active roster.
Ayers, who was a seventh-round pick by the Steelers in the 2016 NFL Draft, spent the first 14 weeks of the season on the team's practice squad. He'll give the squad added wideout depth, as well as another option in the return game.