The Bears are at a weird point in their season. At 3-9 they are eliminated from playoff contention, but the coaching staff may feel like they have jobs to work towards, while upper management may want to evaluate players and get the roster ready for 2018.
Part of that may mean getting a look at younger players (hint, hint Adam Shaheen) or shutting down players with serious nagging injuries.
Which brings us to Kyle Long. The veteran guard turns 29 today (Happy birthday Kyle, if you’re reading this) and is the highest paid offensive lineman on the Bears but has been playing through some serious ailments.
Last season he was already playing with a torn labrum injury before he suffered a major broken ankle last season, which took him the entire offseason to rehab from, to the point he put off shoulder surgery.
In fact, there is some evidence that he might have rushed himself back from that ankle injury and that it is not fully healed, given that he missed the week two game against the Bucs.
Then last month he injured his hand and he wasn’t able to finish Sunday’s game due to his shoulder.
Long is currently the third-highest paid Bear behind Akiem Hicks and Mike Glennon. He’s also anticipated to be a big part of the future. He, along with Cody Whitehair and Charles Leno are really seen as the main younger pieces of the offensive line.
Long is too important to have him out on the field, playing banged up for a three win football team going nowhere. I understand the concern about rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky playing behind a back up offensive line that has struggled but Tom Compton has played well in Long’s spot.
This is about the bigger picture.
Plus with the horrible offense and the coaches unwillingness to let Trubisky pass beyond 15 times a game, I would say it won’t affect much for the offensive scheme.
Long needs the time to rehab and get fresh and finally come back into a season at 100 percent.
And before anyone complains that Long is injury prone, consider that before his brutal ankle injury last season he missed just one game and he’s missed two since. And again, that is with an ankle that isn’t fully healed, a messed up hand and a torn labrum.
Long has been a warrior, he deserves a rest. Shut him down.