LAKE FOREST – It seemed as if the cases would never stop coming for the team as each day more and more names were added to the COVID-19 protocol.
It started early in the week and continued all the way up till Sunday, with the Bears finishing their week with 14 players being knocked out of competition due to the virus. At the same time, three coordinators also got COVID-19, and only defensive coordinator Sean Desai was able to return to coach against the Vikings on Monday night.
Those who’ll be missing this week include receiver Allen Robinson, offensive tackle Larry Borom, backup quarterback Andy Dalton, safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson along with cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Artie Burns.
The huge losses in the secondary certainly leave the Bears shorthanded heading into their game against a Minnesota team that’s still in the hunt for the playoffs. Four of the eight players activated off the practice squad on Monday afternoon were secondary players as the home team comes into their second and final game on the weeknight this season.
Yet through the week no excused were made by the team, with players carrying on even as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continued to rise. Many pointed to the fact that the team had to work virtually and deal with cases during the 2020 season made it a little easier to deal with here in late 2021.
“That’s the world we live in now. We just have to figure things out,” said guard Cody Whitehair. “The coaches will put us in good situations and we’ll be ready to roll on Monday night.”
AKIEM IS BACK!
While so many were knocked out by COVID this week at Halas Hall, at least one player is actually going to be returning to the lineup.
Akiem Hicks, who missed the Bears’ last four games with an ankle injury, is active and will play for the Bears against the Vikings at Soldier Field. The defensive end hasn’t played since the team’s last Monday night game on November 8th against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
In seven games this season, Hicks has 1 1/2 sacks with six quarterback hits and 18 tackles.
STAT OF THE WEEK: 18
The number of regular seasons in which the Bears have had a losing record since their last Super Bowl title in the 1985 season. They are assured of another after their loss last week to the Packers in Green Bay.