The injury bug has been gnawing at the Bears all week. But because a new provision in the CBA allows teams to call up players and expand the game-day roster, Chicago’s football team will still be playing with a full deck. Even if the names are unfamiliar.
It’s a wave of roster moves for the Bears ahead of Sunday’s game against the Titans.
Receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris has signed to the 53-man roster. In essence, Harris takes the place of Ted Ginn Jr., who was released earlier in the week. Harris fielded – and even returned – a punt in his debut last week. That counts as an upgrade from what Ginn was bringing to the table. It’s a small sample of plays, but I’m looking forward to more from Harris now that he’s on the active roster.
Joining Harris on the game-day roster are a pair of rookie offensive linemen. Undrafted free agents Badara Traore and Dieter Eiselen received promotions from the practice squad. Eiselen is the Bears’ backup center behind (presumably?) Alex Bars. Admittedly, I’m not 100 percent sure where Traore fits in the picture. However, it’s worth noting he is a tackle by trade. In any case, I’m sure the Bears hope they won’t force the rookie into action.
And finally, quarterback Tyler Bray and defensive tackle Daniel McCullers were activated from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements. The Bears saw offensive lineman Jason Spriggs and Center Cody Whitehair land on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week. Kudos to the Bears for using this 2020-specific provision to bring on a backup quarterback and reserve nose tackle in a week when Mitchell Trubisky and John Jenkins are unavailable.
That the Bears are recalling four practice squad players this week says a lot about where the team is on the injury front. But it’s better than the alternative of playing without a full roster. The NFL is the ultimate next-man-up game, so part of me can’t wait to see who steps up when given an opportunity.