Through the first week of Training Camp, the Chicago Bears remained relatively healthy at the wide receiver position. The Bears went into camp with 12 receivers on the roster and presently three are injured. Velus Jones Jr. missed the last two practices with an undisclosed injury, Byron Pringle has missed time with what has been reported as a quad injury and N’Keal Harry suffered a supposed high ankle sprain at the end of last week. So that leaves nine healthy receivers for practice which is plenty.
Soon after Pringle and Harry went down, fans were tweeting/talking that the Bears need to bring in more veteran receivers. The talk on Twitter is Harry will be out for up to two months and Pringle will miss the opener. To steal a phrase from ESPN College Game Day Host Lee Corso... ”Not so fast my friends.”
First, because it’s the preseason, the Bears are under no obligation to even disclose what the injuries are. Second, because they don’t have to disclose the injuries, they also don’t have to disclose how long the players will be out. The reason for this is why give upcoming opponents information on the club that they don’t need nor deserve.
My feeling is that fans saying that Harry could be out two months and Pringle will miss the opener is over-reaction. Pringle has some sort of quad injury and there are still five weeks before the Bears open the season. Depending on the severity of the injury chances are good that he will be ready to go for the opener.
If you recall, when Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus talked about the Pringle injury all he said is that it will be longer than day to day. He never said it would be weeks or even months, nor does he have to disclose that. My experience with quad injuries is this: If it’s a deep quad bruise, it could be a couple of weeks. If it’s a strain, it could also be a couple of weeks. If it’s a quad tear, then the recovery could be longer and, in that case, there is a chance he could miss the first game.
With Harry, it’s a little different in that the injury is reported to be a high ankle sprain. That report came from both ESPN and NFL Network sources who usually are pretty close to accurate. They also stated that Harry was going to see a specialist about the injury, and we can assume that was yesterday. Again, my experience with that type of injury is that it could be as little as a month and as long as eight to ten weeks. No matter what the prognosis is, it’s an estimate as every player reacts and comes back from injuries in a different way. Some are fast “healers” and some are slower than the average. Regardless, we can expect Harry to be out longer than Pringle.
That brings us to the question of whether or not the Bears should sign more receivers. As I mentioned above, they presently have nine healthy receivers which is plenty for practice. If Jones returns today, that gives the Bears 10 healthy receivers. Yes, they could add a camp body or two but that would also mean they would have to cut players from other positions.
Many have brought up that the Bears should sign former Texans and Dolphins receiver Will Fuller. In my opinion that would be a huge mistake. Why? If Fuller has proven anything over the course of his six-year career, it’s that he can’t stay healthy. In six seasons he has missed 42 games with 25 of these games being in the last three seasons. He has never once played a full season. In fact, the most games he has ever played in a season is 14 and that was in his rookie year. Why would the Bears sign a player who is not reliable? In my opinion that would be a waste of money.
The important question to ask is how do the Bears feel about the receivers presently in camp? Except for Harry, the coaches and front office have had the entire off-season program and two weeks of camp to evaluate the group. They pretty much already know who can play. Even though Harry was only here since camp opened, the staff again knows what he can do. If the Bears decision makers like what they have seen from the wide receiver group, they may only bring in maybe one player to help them get through practices.
Yesterday, was an off-day for the players as far as practice and meetings, yet no receivers were brought in to work out for the coaches. That alone tells us the Bears aren’t ready to hit the panic button. They seem to like the group they have and are ready to roll with them.