For a moment there, I actually wondered if Henry Burris might be the best option to back up Nick Foles this weekend when the Bears face the Tennessee Titans.
Henry Burris, who you might remember from such moments as “throwing four picks in a meaningless late December game against the Bucs in 2002” and “that random CFL game you stumble upon when you’re desperately missing football.” He’s on the Bears’ coaching staff as a Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellow, and given the NFL’s COVID protocols for free agents, if the Bears needed a backup quarterback on Sunday they’d be entirely out of options not already inside Halas Hall.
The Bears spent Thursday evaluating close contacts of Cody Whitehair, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, to determine if those players needed to go on the league’s COVID-19 list and quarantine for five days. One of those players, the Chicago Tribune reported, was third-string quarterback Tyler Bray.
This was a potentially significant problem, of course, because Mitch Trubisky wasn’t even in Lake Forest. He traveled to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion on his right (throwing) shoulder, which he injured against the New Orleans Saints last last weekend.
Luckily, the Bears won’t need to use a non-quarterback to back up Foles – or Happy Hank, who's 45. Bray was present at the Bears’ practice Friday at Halas Hall and, barring something unforeseen, will back up Foles when the Bears face the Tennessee Titans Sunday in Nashville.
Only Whitehair, by the way, was placed on the COVID-19 list Friday – a testament to Whitehair’s adherence to mask wearing before he knew he was COVID-positive. Whatever close contacts the Bears found connected to Whitehair were not deemed to be high-risk, mostly because Whitehair wore the dang mask.
“People are saying you wear it because others might have it, so you want to wear yours,” Nagy said. “I think you wear it like you all have it, like we all have it. If you do that, then you’re not giving it to somebody else. That’s what he did. He didn’t know he had it. He had his mask on, and it helped out other people. And that’s a good thing.”
So that’s the first bit of good quarterback news the Bears got on Friday. The second: Trubisky will not go on injured reserve, Nagy said, meaning the Bears believe he will not miss more than three games with his shoulder injury.
Nagy said Trubisky’s shoulder injury is not as serious as the one that kept him out of two games in 2018. The Bears do have an extra day between their game Sunday against the Titans and their Week 10 Monday night date against the Minnesota Vikings, after which the Bears are off for 13 days.
Trubisky will not need surgery on his shoulder after getting that second opinion, reportedly, from renowned orthopaedic surgeon Neal ElAttache.
So the Bears will not only have a backup quarterback on Sunday, but they expect to have their usual backup quarterback back by the end of the month.
And all those crazy ideas from the last 24 hours, whether it’s signing a 45-year-old coach or just seeing what Khalil Mack could do will remain just that – crazy ideas, better suited for a weird night with Madden 21 than an actual, real football game.