LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Teven Jenkins’ extended absence from training camp continues to raise questions about the second-year offensive tackle’s status with the Chicago Bears.
Jenkins missed a sixth straight practice on Wednesday, the team’s second day in pads, after only participating during the Bears ‘first day of training camp on July 27. Coach Matt Eberflus remains insistent that Jenkins’ absence is due to injury and continued to designate him as day-to-day.
“Teven’s in that group where he’s working with the trainers and he’ll be back when he’s back,” Eberflus said.
Jenkins has been present at Halas Hall to work with the training staff, according to Eberflus. Because teams do not have to disclose specifics of injuries during the preseason, the Bears coach said he would address Jenkins’ situation only if the injury forces him to miss a significant amount of time.
When Jenkins last practiced, the former second-round draft pick lined up as an extra lineman while the offensive line practiced short-yardage and goal-line formations. The previous Bears regime that drafted Jenkins in 2021 believed he had the potential to become a franchise left tackle, but his whereabouts di lui on the depth chart along with his absence of lui have sparked trade rumors involving the young tackle.
Sources confirmed to ESPN that the Bears have fielded calls from teams inquiring about Jenkins, though it is unclear how actively Chicago is engaging in trade talks.
Jenkins spent the early part of the Bears’ offseason program with the first-team offensive line before he was moved to second-team right tackle after Chicago drafted Braxton Jones in the fifth round.
Jones quickly became a mainstay at left tackle with the first-team O-line in the spring and continues to take significant reps there despite the Bears’ signing of veteran tackle Riley Reiff before camp. In fact, Jones took every rep at left tackle during the team portion of Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s practices.
While Jenkins’ absence nears the one-week mark, his lack of time on the field might hurt his chances for earning a significant role.
“That’s really for everybody, isn’t it?” Eberflus said. “Anybody that misses time on the grass, that’s not good. 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. “
Jenkins took to Twitter on Tuesday to address questions about his whereabouts, responding, “I’m good don’t believe everything you read” to a tweet. Center Sam Mustipher said that he has spoken with Jenkins and that the offensive tackle is doing what he can to stay engaged while not practicing.
“Just keeping his head into things, doing whatever’s required to get back on the football field,” Mustipher said.