When word came out that Adam Shaheen missed Sunday’s practice because of a sore back, I couldn’t escape the clutches of that “here we go again…” feeling.
But before my feelings sank too low, Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy offered up some words that should have been encouraging:
#Bears coach Matt Nagy downplayed significance of TE Adam Shaheen missing 2nd day with sore lower back. "“I don’t think he’s a little ways (away from returning), but again we’re being a little bit cautious. I think he definitely got better from yesterday.”
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) July 29, 2019
Even though Shaheen missed his second consecutive practice, Nagy didn’t express much concern that the back issue that kept his top “Y” tight end off the field (again) was going to be a long-term problem. In fact, Nagy went as far as to say Shaheen’s injury got better from Sunday. That should be welcome news. And if all things were equal, it would be. But all things aren’t equal.
A chest injury caused Shaheen to miss three late-season games as a rookie. In year two, Shaheen missed 10 total games because of a foot/ankle problem that popped up in the preseason, as well as a concussion suffered in his first game back. That’s 13 games in two years. Not great, Bob.
Not only have injuries kept Shaheen off the playing field, they have kept him from practice, too. And while losing out on practice reps at this time of year usually isn’t a big deal early in training camp, Shaheen could use all the snaps he can get because of the time he has missed in the past. As far as I’m concerned, missing developmental time is arguably as important as missing game time. Shaheen has suffered for missing out on both, as has the Bears’ tight ends room. Perhaps that is why the team has six players competing on the depth chart behind Shaheen. In any case, there is reason to be concerned about Shaheen (even if the head coach is not right now).
We shall continue to monitor Shaheen’s progress as training camp rolls on throughout the summer. If Shaheen can get back onto the field, work past his injury problems, and make strides as a player, we will probably look back at missing a few practices in July as a minor bump in the road. If not, then it’s possible we could be looking at Chicago re-design the tight ends room again — with the next remodeling possibly not including Shaheen.