Much has been made of Teven Jenkins’ extended absence at Bears training camp, and the scant details surrounding the situation. Matt Eberflus has made it clear he won’t talk about why guys are or are not practicing in the short term. Instead he’ll only discuss big developments, like he did when Thomas Graham’s hamstring injury wasn’t responding to initial treatment, forcing the team to sideline Graham for “a little bit longer.”
Meanwhile, we haven’t seen Jenkins out at the practice field since July 27, so what may have been initially thought of as a day-to-day absence, is about to turn into a week-to-week scenario. But when Matt Eberflus was asked again about his young tackle on Wednesday, Eberflus maintained the same position.
“He's working with the trainers and he'll be back when he's back,” Eberflus said. “When they tell me it's more of a day-to-day situation, then I will inform you of that because that's what our policy is at this time of year.”
NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reported that Jenkins’ injury is not serious, which goes along with what Eberflus has said. But Kaplan insinuated there may be more going on between Jenkins and the Bears behind the scenes.
“What I’m hearing is that there’s a high level of disconnect between Teven and the new coaching staff,” Kaplan said. “Especially Chris Morgan, the new offensive line coach.”
Ian Rapoport then reported that the Bears had received phone calls inquiring about trading for Jenkins. On Wednesday reports went one step further, when Peggy Kusinski said the Bears were in fact actively shopping Jenkins, who had fallen out of favor with the new regime early.
As rumors swirled the Bears tried to downplay Jenkins’ absence. Sam Mustipher said he’s spoken with Jenkins, and that Jenkins is doing ok, and doing whatever he can to get back onto the field. Eberflus said Jenkins has been at Halas Hall working with trainers, and that the reason we haven’t seen him on the practice field is 100% injury related. Jenkins even took to Twitter himself to caution “I’m good, don’t believe everything you read.”
No matter why Jenkins isn’t on the field, the bottom line is that his chances with the team are dwindling as he misses valuable practice time.
“Anybody that misses time on the grass, that's not good,” said Eberflus. “It's not good for the player, it's not good for the team. That's (not) just Teven, that's everybody. So if you miss because of a soft-tissue injury or you're gonna be out a few days or whatever that might be – case-by-case basis - we need you on the grass. (It's) what we talked about (Monday): functional intelligence. How do we see that without actually functioning on the field? So that's the important part of that.”
Heading into the year, the Bears gave the first crack at starting right tackle reps, and since then he’s slid down the depth chart. Now, the chances of him breaking camp as the starting right tackle seem slim, and the new question becomes, will he even be here?