Bears Place Adam Shaheen on Injured Reserve, But There is Hope He Will Return

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Bears Place Adam Shaheen on Injured Reserve, But There is Hope He Will Return

Chicago Bears

Adam Shaheen’s 2018 season will begin on injured reserve.

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace announced the foot and ankle injuries Shaheen suffered during the team’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos will keep the Bears’ tight end sidelined for a while. Shaheen was injured while making a catch, proceeded to limp off the field, and was carted into the locker room during the team’s third preseason game.

The early hope was that the ankle injury might not be as bad as originally feared, but we’ve since learned that the news wasn’t all that good at all. In what is the only “good” news to come from an IR stint, it’s that the Bears haven’t ruled Shaheen to be out for the season. Shaheen could be designated to return at some point during the season. And because of the rules implemented starting in 2017, NFL teams are now allowed to bring two players back from IR. That’s something worth stashing for future reference.

A slimmed-down Shaheen looked better in training camp, had his moments during the team’s preseason exhibition against the Cincinnati Bengals, and reportedly had a strong showing during the Bears’ joint practices with the Broncos prior to their preseason showdown. He figured to play a bigger role in an offense tha twas better suited to take advantage of his size and skills. So while expectations were high for Shaheen, at least the Bears aren’t short on options to replace him.

Trey Burton will obviously receive a lion’s share of the reps as the team’s “U” tight end, which leaves Dion Sims as the unquestioned top option as the in-line “Y” tight end. Behind Burton and Sims are a pair of young tight ends who made positive impressions during the preseason and are in line to see increased opportunities during the regular season.

Daniel Brown’s 153 receiving yards were the second most for any Bears pass-catcher during the preseason. Brown caught nine passes, including a 56-yard long. The Bears used Brown primarily in the passing game, with most of his snaps coming after Zach Miller’s season-ending injury in Week 8 against the Saints. Brown’s playing time was borderline predictable, as 77.7 percent of his playing time came on passing plays.

Ben Braunecker also has professional experience with the Bears, but his four-play cameo in 2017 is an entirely too small of a sample size to make any grand predictions for how he’ll be used. However, it’s notable that three of his four snaps were on run-blocking plays. Perhaps Braunecker is a better fit as a “Y” tight end, especially if this coaching staff is confident in his blocking ability.

Braunecker didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but he caught six passes for 81 yards, including a game-winning touchdown against the Broncos. In fact, the Harvard product (yes, that Harvard) might be on his way to move ahead of Brown on the depth chart. Brown left the Bears’ final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills because of a shoulder injury. And while it wasn’t serious enough to lead the team to waive/injure Brown or place him on injured reserve to start the season, the Bears were essentially pushed to carry five tight ends to start the season because of health issues.

Hopefully, these injury concerns don’t linger too long into the regular season.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.