Chicago Bears lose RB Jacquizz Rodgers, sign RB Antone Smith


Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears surprise comeback win over the Chiefs on Sunday has both fans and players feeling optimistic, but the Bears got some bad news today when they found out backup RB and special teams standout Jacquizz Rodgers has been placed on the injured reserve with a broken arm and is out for the rest of the season.

Rodgers has been Matt Forte’s primary backup and had 49 yards on 14 carries through five games. With rookie Jeremy Langford already in the mix as a backup, the Bears probably won’t miss Rodgers much as an RB though he was surprisingly effective as an inside runner. Where Rodgers will be missed most is on special teams since he was the Bears leading tackler on kick and punt coverage. The special teams unit has struggled most of the season and can’t afford to lose a solid gunner like Rodgers. Hopefully they can find a viable replacement in WR Josh Bellamy, RB Ka’Deem Carey, or recently signed RB Antone Smith.

Despite a productive career at Florida St (2,253 yards, 26 TDs) and impressive pro day numbers, a 4.33 40-time and 31 bench reps both of which were better than any RB at that year’s combine, Smith went undrafted. He ended up signing with the Detroit Lions, but spent time on three teams before the midway point of his rookie season when he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons. Smith spent a season and a half on the Falcons practice squad before eventually earning a role as a special teams gunner in 2011.

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In 2013 Smith got a chance at running back and produced with 145 yards on just five carries, highlighted by 50 and 39 yard TD runs. He showed more big-play ability in 2014 with 336 total yards on just 36 touches (9.3 yards per touch). Smith had five more long TDs that season with two runs of 38 and 48 yards and three receptions of 41, 54, and 74 yards. For his career Smith has averaged 9.9 yards per carry on 29 attempts and 15.5 yards per catch on 15 receptions. Granted those are small sample sizes but with 7 touchdowns on just 44 career touches, Smith clearly has game breaking potential.

The reason Smith was available off the waiver wire in week 6 is that he’s had trouble staying healthy throughout his career and is coming off a broken leg suffered in week 11 of last season. If healthy, Smith should at least provide solid value as a special teams gunner but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up breaking a big play or two for the Bears by the end of the season.

Next: Chicago Bears Week 5: Takeaways

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