LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears offensive tackle Teven Jenkins returned to training camp Saturday after missing seven straight practices with an undisclosed injury.
Jenkins, who is in a build-up period, only participated in individual exercises. The second-year lineman did not disclose details of his injury, including whether he was injured in the team’s first practice on July 27, whether he still has back problems after had surgery last offseason and what he’s currently recovering from, but felt he should be 100% healthy in “a few days.”
“I’m feeling really good and I’m not feeling any discomfort right now, so that’s really good,” Jenkins said after taking part in Saturday’s practice. “If I were to give myself one percent, probably around 90% and it’s just about getting my body back into the feeling of football and getting back to 100% of ‘it’s football’ and getting ready to go. “
Jenkins said he had been in the training room for nine days and his extended absence was for the “improvement of my health”.
His absence was particularly noticeable at Halas Hall amid trade rumors involving the second-round pick. Earlier in the week, Jenkins responded to a fan on Twitter concerned about his whereabouts of “not believing everything you read” in light of reports of mutual discontent between the player and the franchise.
“Just one thing, mainly, that I was clashing with the coaches,” Jenkins said. “It was totally untrue, and I just wanted to tell everyone that you don’t have to believe everything someone says. That’s how it is.”
Throughout the first week and a half of training, coach Matt Eberflus refused to address the details of Jenkins’ absence and classified the tackle as “day to day”. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Friday that Jenkins is present at team meetings and “all in.”
Getsy and Eberflus maintain that Jenkins is in competition for a starting spot on the offensive line and conveyed that message to the lineman.
“Really, like everyone else: ‘Go ahead and compete. Everything is open. Immerse yourself,'” Eberflus said. “Like we said, he’s been great in the meetings. He was very attentive.
Jenkins was drafted 39th overall in 2021 by former Bears general manager Ryan Pace. After undergoing back surgery ahead of his rookie season, Jenkins was limited to 157 left tackle snaps last season.
Jenkins said he believes in the Bears organization and expects to be with the team during the regular season. “To me, I’m a loyal guy,” Jenkins said. “The Chicago Bears, they drafted me so I’m going to stay with the Chicago Bears until it’s over.”
Jenkins was bumped at left tackle by fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones during OTAs and moved to right tackle with the second team. On the first day of training camp, Jenkins got reps as a swing tackle and said he was ready to explore a guarding move.
“I’m ready to play wherever they want me,” Jenkins said. “I want to be here in Chicago so I play wherever they need me to play.”
Jenkins’ return came on a day when Chicago completed its ninth practice of training camp against three of its top four wide receivers.
N’Keal Harry injured his left ankle/foot in the first team practice game and had to be helped off the field by teammates and coaches.
“I just saw him go down,” Eberflus said. “I saw the game and I don’t know much from there. We will obviously do the assessment and once I have that we can send it back to you. And if the situation is longer, we’ll let you know what it is. If it’s day-to-day, we’ll tell that too.
Byron Pringle and rookie Velus Jones Jr. were also non-participants on Saturday. Pringle, one of the Bears’ top free agent signings, has a quad injury, according to Eberflus, and doesn’t have a timeline for a comeback, though the team is optimistic his injury won’t hold him back for the regular season.
“No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so,” Eberflus said. “It’s longer than day to day so that’s all I can say, but no real timeline to come back. But hopefully it’s a good situation for us.”
Jones Jr. is “day to day,” according to Eberflus, who responded to concerns about the team’s wide receiver depth after being without three players in line for the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receiver roles. .
“Yeah, you’re still concerned about that,” Eberflus said. “You know, during camp, when you have this 90-man roster and guys come down with soft tissues or whatever, you put loads of work on other guys. And those other guys have opportunities. They have more reps, so you have to be aware of that. And we were. We are aware of that.”