Today marks Day 10 of the first training camp of Matt Eberflus’ tenure as Chicago Bears head coach.
But to this point, one notable player — offensive lineman Teven Jenkins — hasn’t been a practice participant. On top of that, the Bears have been evasive in discussing Jenkins’ absence. This tact by the team has led to rampant speculation regarding Jenkins’ future. Would GM Ryan Poles cut a second-year offensive lineman just because he wasn’t the one who chose him in the NFL Draft? Was Jenkins not taking well to the demotion from starting left tackle to competing at right tackle? Could Jenkins be on the trade block? Teams reportedly were calling with interest. All of these conversations came as a result of the uncertainty surrounding Jenkins’ status because he wasn’t practicing.
Perhaps that changes beginning today, with the Trib’s Brad Biggs reporting Jenkins’ return to the practice field:
This revelation comes one day after Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy said Jenkins was “all-in” and an active participant in meetings. And that Jenkins would be competing for a starting tackle spot when healthy. All of this feels like a sudden change of course. It is a surprise, to be sure. But a welcome one if a healthy Jenkins can rein in that potential and deploy his size and skill at whatever position he lands at on the line. Is he at right tackle? Will he compete with Riley Reiff? Or is he on the other side competing with Braxton Jones? Could Reiff be on the left side, opening a battle with fellow 2021 draft pick Larry Borom at right tackle?
Or maybe Jenkins’ return is a first step toward being able to shop him on the trade market if the front office truly believes he isn’t a fit in Chicago. But maybe it isn’t. In the end, I’m appreciative that Jenkins is healthy enough to return and possibly give the Bears some options.
Whatever the case is, Jenkins is back in the mix. We’ll see to what extent after practice ends later this morning. It is a practice that is closed to the public, which has me looking forward to any possible media availability when things come to a close.