Amid a recent NFL Network report that offensive tackle Teven Jenkins is on the trading block, Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said the “super talented” Jenkins will join the battle for either starting tackle position when he returns from an unspecified injury.
That’s the Bears story and they’re sticking to it.
Jenkins, a second-round draft pick (39th overall) in 2021, was not on the field and missed his seventh consecutive practice Friday. Since general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus replaced Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, Jenkins has been demoted to second-team right tackle in the offseason program, opened training camp as a back-up on July 27, and then has been out with the mysterious injury that might or might not be related to the back injury he came to camp with — and led to surgery — last season.
“He’s going to get thrown into the mix of this competition at the tackles,” Getsy said when asked where Jenkins fits into an offensive line that is in a mix-and-match phase. “This is an open [competition] — right, left, whatever. We’re trying to find the best five, so when he gets back, he’s someone who’s super talented that should jump in there, and hopefully he takes advantage of the opportunities he’s going to get.”
The Bears’ purposeful vagueness about Jenkins’ absence has led to speculation about the Bears’ belief in him, his belief in the Bears and his future with the team. Coach Matt Eberflus has neither disclosed the nature of the injury nor given a timetable for Jenkins’ return. He’s been “day-to-day” for nine days.
The signing of veteran tackle Riley Reiff and veteran guard Michael Schofield on the eve of training camp enhanced the notion that Poles did not like the offensive linemen he inherited from Pace, who traded up from 52nd to 39th overall to take Jenkins in the second round.
Asked if Jenkins has been an active participate in position-group meetings, Getsy was enthusiastic. “Oh yeah, Teven’s been great,” Getsy said. “He’s been attentive. He’s all in. Once he gets through this deal, he’ll be back out there ready to rock and roll.”
Defensive end Robert Quinn, also a subject of trade speculation, did not participate in Friday’s practice. Eberflus did not speak to the media Friday and the Bears gave no explanation for Quinn’s absence, which came after an off day for the team.
Linebacker Roquan Smith, on the physically unable to play (PUP) list as a contract holdout since the start of camp, again attended practice, but did not participate. Rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon (undisclosed), cornerback Kindle Vildor (undisclosed) and defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga (undisclosed) also did not practice.
Bears sign Harris
The Bears signed veteran cornerback Davontae Harris and defensive lineman Trevon Coley and waived cornerback Jon Alexander and defensive lineman Auzoyah Alufohai.
Magical Mystery Tour
Getsy — who was first Aaron Rodgers’ position coach — joked that he had nothing to do with the Packers quarterback’s South American trips to use psychedelics.
“I was not invited on those trips,” Getsy, grinning, said after practice Friday. “I didn’t know all that stuff. I haven’t watched that yet but obviously i’ve been informed by a lot of people about that stuff. Whatever it takes, I guess.”
Getsy smiled when asked about Rodgers’ use of psychedelics. He said friends who heard about Rodgers’ experience had been asking him about it over the last day.
In a podcast released this week, Rodgers said that using the plant ayahuasca made him feel a “magical experience” that led to him loving himself more. It said it wasn’t coincidental that he put together back-to-back NFL MVP seasons after traveling to South America to use the plant.
Contributing: Patrick Finley