The Bears believe N’Keal Harry is ready to make his season debut against the Patriots on Monday Night Football. He practiced in full all week as he works back from an ankle injury that required surgery in August. Harry was medically cleared to play last week, but was a scratch on gameday. Ultimately that decision came down to the fact that Harry wasn’t able to practice for Commanders game, since it was a short week and the team only held walkthroughs.
“We feel like he’s been preparing and he’s earned the right to get some playing time this week,” said wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert on Friday.
However the team is still working through how much he’ll play. The Bears have used “ramp up” periods to slowly work a player back into the lineup if they’ve missed significant time, so it feels likely that Harry will have a limited snap count on Monday Night Football.
“The main thing is that you’re sure, is he physically ready to go out there and play,” said Tolbert. “And his stamina, make sure his stamina was up to par. He probably the last two days on purpose had more reps in the receiver (drills) because I wanted to make sure he could hold up stamina-wise.”
The Bears also wanted to check to make sure Harry could cut off of each foot equally well, so that he’s not favoring one ankle over the other, and he passed that test, too.
Whenever he makes it onto the field, Harry will give Justin Fields another big body to target. The Bears list Harry at 6’4” and 225 pounds, giving him a blend of height and weight. The only other receiver on the roster with a similar size is Equanimeous St. Brown, who comes in at 6’5” and 215 pounds.
The Patriots selected Harry in the first round of the 2019 draft, but he failed to live up to expectations in New England. In three seasons with the Pats, Harry caught 57 balls on 103 targets for 598 yards and four touchdowns. Ryan Poles traded a 2024 seventh-round draft pick to New England for Harry over the summer.