It might be a bit before one of the Chicago Bears’ premium free-agent signings sets foot on the practice field in Bourbonnais:
Ryan Pace says that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is likely to start training camp on the PUP list due to a knee sprain he sustained at the very end of the offseason program.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 21, 2019
Bears GM Ryan Pace mentioned the possibility of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix likely starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of a knee sprain that popped up at the end of the team’s offseason training program. Pace also mentioned offensive lineman T.J. Clemmings and defensive lineman Jonathan Harris as players who are likely to start camp on the PUP list, but the big name that will catch everyone’s attention is obviously Clinton-Dix (who is playing on a one-year “prove it” deal signed in March). But before you approach the ledge of a moderately tall building, let’s talk about what this means.
If Clinton-Dix lands on the PUP list before the start of training camp, he won’t be able to practice with the team, but can still attend meetings and keep receiving receive medical treatment from the staff. That’s good. Players who get the PUP designation prior to the start of training camp can be taken off the list at any time during the preseason and will gain eligibility to return to the practice field once that happens. That’s also good! The only time Clinton-Dix (or any player, for that matter) would be at risk of missing regular season games is if he was placed on the PUP list after the start of training camp and before the regular season. In that case, a player would miss the first six weeks of the regular season. It doesn’t sound as if Clinton-Dix is at risk of missing any regular-season action, so you can resume breathing normally. If you’re not there yet, keep taking those deep breaths as we continue to talk through the situation.
Clinton-Dix hasn’t missed a game in his five-year NFL career, but could miss practice time once he officially lands on the PUP list. It could be one practice. It could be a week’s worth. It could be more than that or possibly even less. But because Pace didn’t make it seem like it would be a long-term concern, it’s wise to take this type of precautionary measure at this point of the year. Since Head Coach Matt Nagy stepped into the Bears’ world, the team has made it a point to exercise every precautionary measure before putting a starter back on the field. You can figure that trend to continue as Nagy enters Year 2 as the Bears’ head coach. In the meantime, that means fourth-year safety Deon Bush will get an opportunity to take first-team reps next to Jackson until Clinton-Dix is cleared.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation as it develops this summer, but know that just because the expectation is that Clinton-Dix will start the year on the PUP list doesn’t mean trouble is brewing for the safety slated to start opposite of All-Pro Eddie Jackson this season.