In the Chicago Bears’ final OTA practice previously scheduled to be open to the public, some major news was announced from the coaching staff in regards to both injury updates and player development.
The headliner, by far, is Bears receiver and prized free agent acquisition Allen Robinson has made his debut in practice. This was publicly announced by the Bears’ official site via Twitter.
L k who hit the field today.#BearsOTAs pic.twitter.com/nZcDtdYbLX— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 30, 2018
Granted, during OTAs, contact between players is strictly prohibited as per the current collective bargaining agreement. With that said, this is remarkable progress for a player who completely tore his ACL in week one of the 2017 regular season. He is currently on track to return to full practice by the time training camp rolls around.
In other injury-related news, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd also returned to practice in a limited capacity. He suffered a knee injury of his own towards the end of the 2017 regular season. Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio expects for Floyd to be ready for training camp as well. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times was the first to report the news.
#Bears DC Vic Fangio said that he expects Leonard Floyd to be back at full speed by the opening of training camp.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 30, 2018
Meanwhile, in regards to player development, linebacker Roquan Smith has began to practice with the first team defense. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune first reported the news.
#Bears DC Vic Fangio says team has been rolling 1st rd pick Roquan Smith through first team reps from time to time in OTAs at ILB.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) May 30, 2018
Where this has been the expectation for their eighth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, it’s still a big positive to see Smith playing with the starters this soon in the offseason programs. Vic Fangio has never been one to simply give any of his players reps solely because of their draft status. As Fangio mentioned in his presser today, “he must now prove his worth.”
For what it’s worth, today’s set of announcements combine for a significant step towards the right direction.