Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery Returns to Practice
On Wednesday, Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery returned to the practice field. Although he was listed as a limited participant, it was great to see Jeffery back on the field as he tries to get well for the Bears’ regular season opener against the Green Bay Packers.
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Jeffery has been sidelined for nearly a month since straining his left calf in a walk-through practice on August 12th. He missed the Bears’ entire pre-season slate, and had not practiced since suffering the injury.
There were mostly positive reports out of Halas Hall on the status of Jeffery’s play, with the man himself talking to reporters after the practice.
“I felt pretty good,” Jeffery told reporters, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, “but we’ll see how it goes tomorrow and the next day.”
Head coach John Fox also chimed in on the status of his star receiver. “I thought it went well,” Fox said. “Our training staff felt he did well. We’ll see how he feels overnight, tomorrow, but it was encouraging to see him out there running routes.”
Neither Fox nor Jeffery would commit to his availability for Sunday, but that is not surprising. The Bears’ head coach has a long history of releasing as little information about player injuries as possible. It does Fox no good to say that Jeffery is good to go, and he also does not benefit from telling the Packers he will be without his best receiver.
When it comes down to it, the Bears want to compete at the highest level on Sunday, and leaving the Packers in the dark on the status of Jeffery gives them a better chance than letting them know exactly what is going on.
This is purely speculation, but I believe we will see Jeffery on the field against the Packers. The Bears know what Jeffery can do for them on the field. They just need to get him the mental reps, and ensure he is as healthy as he can possibly be for Sunday. A limited Wednesday practice helps Jeffery in both of those scenarios.
Oct 12, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes a touchdown catch in between Atlanta Falcons cornerback Josh Wilson (26) and free safety Dwight Lowery (20) in the fourth quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. The touchdown catch was overturned after a penalty by Jeffery. The Bears won 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
There had also been some whispers that Jeffery had been sitting out because of contract negotiations, not his calf injury. He attempted to put that to rest on Wednesday, calling the claim (which originally came from Bleacher Report) “Totally not true.”
“My contract situation got nothing to do with it,” Jeffery said, according to Campbell. “That will take care of itself. I wasn’t practicing because I was injured.”
Whether he suits up on Sunday or not, it is nice to see Jeffery back on the field. If the Bears are going to have any chance to compete in the NFC North this season, they are going to need their number one wide receiver out there making plays. Although it was on a limited basis, practicing on Wednesday was certainly a step in the right direction.
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