Bears

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Bears

When the Bears packed Brandon Marshall off to the New York Jets in early 2015, it was done with the knowledge that they held the No. 7 pick in a draft class that included Amari Cooper, Tyler Lockett and Kevin White. And they had Alshon Jeffery under contract and coming off consecutive 80-catch, 1,000-yard seasons.

The Bears drafted White, only to lose him to a stress fracture of his leg in 2015 and to a broken leg in 2016. Jeffery played fewer than half the snaps in 2015 and stayed in Chicago only under the team’s franchise tag this season.

Meaning: A position group once topped with designer big, young receivers is now among the major offseason issues looking into 2017.

Not that either receiver seems to see things that way.

Asked during Monday’s locker-cleanout day if he expected to be with the Bears in 2017, now that his franchise-tag year is done, Jeffery reiterated his feeling that the Bears in fact have something special.

Money ultimately determines in large measure where a player winds up, but Jeffery sounded like the player that teammates voted as one of their two co-captains for offense.

“You have to believe this is going to be a special year, you’ve got to believe.,” Jeffery said. “You’ve got to have faith and put in the work.”

But will he be part of the team that puts in that work in Chicago?

“I just answered your question, didn’t I?” Jeffery said.

White was leading the Bears in receptions after four games, averaging five catches per game before going on with the injury from the first Detroit game. Whether the Bears can count on him as part of the long-term plan is an issue to be discussed with GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox.

 

For his part, White is not thinking "issue.”

“I’ll be back just fine,” White said on Monday. “It won’t mess my game up at all. Just about timeframe. Once I’m able to start doing everything I’m allowed to do, that’s when I’ll try to hit it hard. Really just trying to get my body back. Hamstrings, every little body part I can, and then once I’m able to do what I can, that’s what I’ll do.

“No doubt at all. Just got to get my body right. Once I do that, I’ll do what I’m allowed to do. No doubts. I’m actually excited. A lot of pressure. A lot of doubts that everybody else has, but I’ll work it out.”