Less than 24 hours after the Bears announced they were bringing running back Damien Williams off the Reserve/COVID-19 list, another player on their active roster heads to the list of unavailable players.
#Bears roster move:
We have placed LB Caleb Johnson on Reserve/COVID-19.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) October 24, 2021
Linebacker Caleb Johnson is on the COVID reserve list and will miss today’s game against the Buccaneers. It’s a late-in-the-game add, and one that chips away at the team’s depth and special teams contributors.
Johnson, a rookie UDFA signing this past summer, climbed the ranks during training camp and preseason to carve a role on the 53-player roster. And while he was questionable to play today because of a knee injury, Johnson was a full participant in Friday’s practice. Being a full-go in the week’s final practice tends to suggest a player will suit up on Sunday. Instead, that won’t be the case.
Johnson is the fourth Bears player to land on the reserve COVID list in the last two weeks. And while RB Damien Williams is back in the fold, TE Jimmy Graham and OLB Robert Quinn remain out until further notice. At least WRs Coach Mike Furrey, who was in COVID protocols and missed last week’s game against the Packers, could be back on the sidelines coaching his position group on Sunday.
All things considered, this feels pretty concerning after last year’s relatively run of good health during the first NFL season impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But at this stage of the game, the only thing the players can do is follow protocols until all is clear.