The hits keep coming for a Chicago Bears team just days removed from an embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Right guard Kyle Long and defensive lineman Mitch Unrein saw their seasons come to an end on Tuesday, as the team announced the two were sent to injured reserve.
The move to put Long on IR was expected after Head Coach John Fox hinted at the possibility of shutting down the three-time Pro Bowl lineman earlier in the week. Long played just 16 snaps in Sunday’s game against the 49ers before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Tom Compton, who had just returned from a nagging ankle injury that had kept him out of action since before the bye week.
The trip to injured reserve ends an injury riddled season for Long, who missed the entire preseason and the first two games of the regular season while recovering from ankle surgery that ended his 2016 season. Long was battling at least five different injuries this season and still found enough strength to play in 10 games (nine starts).
Unrein suffered a knee injury during the team’s loss against San Francisco that was serious enough to shut him down for the rest of the season. Unrein played just 15 snaps in Sunday’s game as Roy Robertson-Harris (21) and Jonathan Bullard (42) picked up the slack. The Bears would be wise to find the silver lining in Unrein’s absence and see what they have in Bullard (a third-round pick in 2016) and Robertson-Harris (an undrafted free agent who is transitioning from being an edge-rushing outside linebacker/defensive end type to a 3-4 defensive end).
As it stands, the Bears have 12 players currently on season-ending injured reserve.
Replacing Long on the 53-man roster is Cameron Lee, an offensive lineman who has been on the Bears’ practice squad since the start of the season. We discussed the Illinois State product earlier today. As for Unrein, his roster spot will be filled by defensive end/outside linebacker Howard Jones. Unlike Lee, Jones has NFL experience and could probably be called upon to play in a pinch. This is Jones’ second stint with the active roster this season.
With two open spots on the practice squad available, the Bears re-signed tight end Colin Thompson and added offensive lineman Will Pericak. This is Thompson’s second trip on the Bears’ practice squad. Pericak is an experienced practice squad player with experience with the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and Buffalo Bills. Pericak, who played at the University of Colorado, has some familiarity with John Fox having signed with the Broncos in 2014 before being waived that August.