In one of the least surprising moves of the offseason, the Chicago Bears have placed wide receiver Johnny Knox on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list. The move means that Knox failed Wednesday’s physical and can’t begin practicing until he’s elevated from the PUP List. If he starts the season on the PUP, he will have to sit out at least the first 6 weeks of the regular season.
It’s been a long, tough road for Knox, who suffered a devastating back injury last December, an injury which required spinal fusion surgery. It’s highly doubtful that he plays at all in 2012 and his career is certainly in question, but Knox is just taking it one step at a time:
"“I don’t have that same burst that I used to have, but that’s to be expected with this injury,” he said. “But I’m jogging and moving around pretty good.“There’s really no timetable. We’re all taking our time on this. They’re not rushing me, I’m not rushing myself. This was a serious injury, so we’re all taking our time on this. Right now, I’m setting small goals, taking a little bit at a time. At first, I knew it was going to be hard to run. But now I’m running better than I thought I would. I’m getting my weight back a little more, doing heavier weights in the weight room. So doing good.”"
I saw a headline that said “Knox’s Days Could Be Numbered with Bears” and it made me take a peek at his contract status beyond this season. Guess what? Knox is an unrestricted free agent after this season. I don’t know how that situation gets handled down the road. First and foremost, I’m hoping Knox makes a full recovery and can go on to lead a normal and healthy life. I’m not sure he plays football again.
A season ago, there’s no way you’d believe that Knox wasn’t in the Bears’ future, but with offseason additions like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, it’s clear the Bears were preparing for a season (or more) without Knox. Knox was co-leader among Bears wide receivers in 2011 with 37 catches and leader in yardage with 727 yards in 14 games.
What do you think? Will Knox play in 2012? Will he play in the Orange and Blue again?