Fri, 07 Oct 2022

Teven Jenkins returns after missing seven practices

Chicago Bears
07 Aug 2022, 16:37 GMT+10

Larry Mayer

Bears tackle Teven Jenkins returned to practice on a limited basis Saturday, participating solely in individual drills after sitting out the previous seven workouts.

The Bears only announce details about injuries that sideline players for weeks, not days, and Jenkins also declined to disclose why he wasn't practicing.

The 2021 second-round pick did say that he feels 90 percent healthy and expects to be 100 percent "in a couple days." Jenkins added that he anticipates getting limited team reps in Sunday's practice.

"I would say that we're ramping him up," said coach Matt Eberflus. "Today, he did individual and tomorrow we'll ramp it up. Typically, the way the model works is that a guy's coming off of whatever the issue is, he now goes into individual and then we ramp him up, we ramp his reps up. Then it's up to a full period, then two periods, then three periods, then kind of work from there."

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Jenkins indicated that he felt "really good" after taking part in Saturday's practice.

"I'm not having any discomfort right now," he said. "It's just about working my body back into the feeling of football back again and getting back to that 100 percent of 'this is football' and get ready to go."

As a rookie last year, Jenkins missed all of training camp and the first 11 regular-season games due to a back injury that required surgery in mid-August. He made his NFL debut by playing two special-teams snaps Dec. 5 against the Cardinals. A week later, he was inserted at left tackle in the first quarter versus the Packers after Jason Peters suffered a high ankle sprain. Jenkins started the next two games, exited a win in Seattle with a shoulder injury and played in the final two contests.

The Oklahoma State product conceded that it hasn't been easy missing valuable training camp practices in each of his first two NFL seasons.

"It's very frustrating not to go," Jenkins said. "But that's the way of the world. That's OK. It's what's going to happen."

His fiancee has helped him deal with the adversity.

"I talk to her night and day, whenever I can, and she helps me through a lot," he said.

In recent weeks, there have been reports that the Bears are trying to trade Jenkins. Others have claimed that he isn't happy in Chicago and is seeking a fresh start elsewhere.

On Saturday, Jenkins told reporters that he expects to remain with the Bears and that he is, in fact, happy with the team.

"I'm here to play football for the Chicago Bears and that's what I want to do and that's what I plan on doing right now," Jenkins said. "I'm a loyal type of guy. The Chicago Bears, they drafted me so I'm going to stay with the Chicago Bears until whenever it is."

When a reporter pointed out that Ryan Pace, the general manager who drafted him, is no longer with the team, Jenkins said: "I know that. But it was the organization that drafted me. That's why I believe in them."

Jenkins took issue with one recent report that claimed he was clashing with Bears coaches. He responded by tweeting: "Don't believe everything you read."

"That was totally not true," Jenkins said Saturday. "And I just wanted to tell everybody that you don't have to believe everything that somebody says.

"I love the coaches. We have no animosity towards each other. We talk to each other every day."

Even before Jenkins returned to practice Saturday, coaches felt he was engaged in the classroom.

"He's been great in meetings," Eberflus said, echoing what offensive coordinator Luke Getsy had told reporters a day earlier. "He's been very attentive. He's been paying attention. He's been back up at the walk-throughs looking at the plays and understanding his role and the plays. So he's been good."

On Friday, Getsy revealed that Jenkins would immediately rejoin the competition for the left and right tackle positions when he was able to resume practicing. Jenkins said that be believes the Bears are giving him a fair chance to win a starting job, and he remains confident he can earn a spot with the No. 1 offense. He also would move to right guard if there's a better opportunity there.

"I'm willing to play wherever they want me," Jenkins said. "I want to be here in Chicago, so I'm playing wherever they need me to play."

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