Hunter Hillenmeyer’s season came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, as the Bears put him on IR due to lingering effects of concussion. I knew something was up when he was reported to have an “illness” after Sunday’s 19-14 win over the Lions. Here’s what Jerry Angelo told the Bears official website:
“Player health and safety has and always will be a priority with our organization,” said general manager Jerry Angelo. “Unlike other injuries, there is no defined timetable for a concussion. After consulting with our doctors and Hunter, this was the best way to proceed. We will miss his contributions this year, but it is the right decision given Hunter’s circumstances.”
Hillenmeyer was none to pleased with the situation:
“I have mixed emotions,” Hillenmeyer said. “I respect the decision of Jerry and Lovie [Smith] to place me on injured reserve. Concussions by nature are harder to evaluate than other injuries. While this is probably in my best interest and the team’s, it is hard to accept the fact that my season is over in one game.
“As someone who has been in the forefront of player advocacy of concussion awareness, I’m happy to see my team err on the side of caution. But when it is my season that is cut short, it makes the complexity of the issues really hit home.”
First and foremost, I hope everything is OK with Hunter. He’s been a steady contributor and a solid Bear. His loss greatly diminishes what was once the Bears’ deepest position. After the Bears dispatched Jamar Williams to Carolina to bring back Chris Harris and have Nick Roach dinged up with a hammy, the Bears are suddenly very thin at linebacker. Hillenmeyer can back up all three linebacker spots and his intelligence on the field is unquestioned.
Look for the Bears to add someone off the street to fill another linebacker spot. Reports out of Halas Hall indicate that that former Bears Rod Wilson could be coming back. He spent a few years with the Bears and already knows the scheme.