LAKE FOREST – Justin Fields was the rookie that the Bears and their fans were most interested in seeing take the field in 2021, but the second wasn’t able to do so to start this season.
That’s offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, who had to undergo back surgery during training camp and went onto injured reserve before he could even take the field in the preseason.
Now in mid-November, the Bears are finally going to get a chance to see what their second round pick can do in 2021, at least in practice.
At his Monday news conference after the bye week, head coach Matt Nagy announced that Jenkins has had his 21-day window to return from IR activated and will return to practice today. This is the first time this has happened since the offensive tackle had surgery in August.
Safety Deon Bush also had his 21-day window activated after a quad injury has kept him out of the lineup since Week 6.
Jenkins was a candidate to start at either one of the tackle positions coming into training camp, with some believing he might be able to win the left tackle job. But his injury forced the Bears to sign veteran Jason Peters and he’s remained the starter at that position all season long. On the right side, the Bears have used Larry Borom, Germain Ifedi, and Elijah Wilkinson at different times during the season.
Where Jenkins could fit on this line is still to be determined over the next few weeks, with the focus at the moment on conditioning for the offensive lineman as he returns to practice for the first time since the summer.
“We’ll have to really get him in here and see where he’s at. It’s been a while since Teven’s put the pads on, so we’ll start there,” said Nagy of Jenkins. “That will be exciting for us to see where he’s at. I know he’s really anxious and excited to get out there. As far as the sides, that’s stuff we’ll work through with him.”
At least they’ll get the chance to do that and see what another one of their rookies can do on the field in 2021.