Adam Shaheen arrived in Chicago with a big frame and even bigger expectations.
Arthur Arkush penned a piece about the Bears’ top “Y” tight end option for Pro Football Weekly. It’s behind a paywall, but I would encourage you to support a football institution with a subscription of some sorts. Here’s a snippet from the piece that was shared via PFW’s Bears Insider Twitter feed:
— Bears Insider (@bears_insider) August 28, 2019
I’m not sure which is more encouraging: Shaheen noting that he feels as good as he has since he was coming in as a rookie or that injuries haven’t sapped the fun out of the game. But in either case, it’s good to see reasons for optimism regarding Shaheen’s third season with the Bears. Because if all things are treated as equal here, it would have been easy for Shaheen to be beaten down by what has transpired the last few seasons.
Shaheen is two years into his professional career and has played in just 19 of a possible 32 games. Missing 13 games due to injuries (chest, foot/ankle, concussion) has stunted his growth as a player.
Moreover, I’m not convinced John Fox or Dowell Loggains did him any favors on his development path. Remember, before injuries stunted Shaheen’s growth, the powers that be who run the offense used Shaheen in a way that was the equivalent to a pitcher tipping pitches. And even after he had a good game, there were times when his presence was ignored altogether. It made for an uneven and disappointing year. But maybe — just maybe — Shaheen will start to come around now that he has a clean bill of health.
If Shaheen can stay healthy, then the most challenging part of becoming a pro is behind him. Availability can often be the most important “ability” in football, and Shaheen hasn’t had it to this point. But because Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy doesn’t play starters or regulars in the preseason, Shaheen has been positioned to soak in all the things he needs to learn without risking losing time because of another injury.
Shaheen doesn’t turn 25 until October, and while his prospect shine is starting to fade, there is some post-hype sleeper potential here. So while we won’t see him on the field until September 5, his development is one of those storylines worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.