LAKE FOREST — Whenever they are asked a question about attendance at team workouts in the month of May, there is a common response from Matt Eberflus – and it’s to be expected.
“This is a voluntary time for all the players,” said the Bears’ head coach when asked about a few on the team who were not spotted during the team’s OTA workout Tuesday at Halas Hall. “Some players have certain things going on, and again, it’s their right be there and not here, and we’ll coach the guys that are here.
Indeed the majority of workouts at Halas Hall in May and June are voluntary, with only the veteran veteran minicamp June 13-15 being mandatory.
While a fair amount of players are in attendance in Lake Forest, it’s common that there are a few who are doing work away from the team. So far in 2023, that list includes.
- Cornerback Jaylon Johnson
- Safety Eddie Jackson
- Guard Nate Davis
- Wide Receiver Darnell Mooney
This might not be a surprise for Jackson and Mooney since both players are recovering from major injuries.
In the midst of a Pro Bowl season, the safety suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Jets in Week 13 and would miss the rest of the season. Mooney also was injured in that late November game at Met Life Stadium, and that ankle issue would keep him out for the remainder of the 2022 campaign.
“We just don’t have the answers right now,” said Eberflus when asked about when the pair might return. “All I can say is they’re progressing right along where they’re supposed to be, and it’s all positive and we expect them back soon.”
Johnson was out the final three games of the 2022 season with a hand injury which landed him on injured reserve in late December. Eberflus said the cornerback, who is entering his fourth year with the Bears, is “good to go” in terms of that ailment but wouldn’t say if he was participating in other parts of the OTA activities.
Davis signed a three-year deal with the Bears this offseason after spending his first four seasons with the Titans, who drafted him in the third round.