Eddie Goldman missed all of 2020 after choosing to opt out over fears of COVID-19. The Chicago Bears defense suffered without him, posting their worst numbers against the run in years. So the prospect of him returning this season no doubt had a lot of people excited. Then the veteran nose tackle didn’t show up for Organized Team Activities. That’s okay. No big deal. Most of the defensive starters didn’t anyway.
Then Goldman missed mandatory minicamps as well. Head coach Matt Nagy made it clear that the nose tackle was not excused for such absences. This immediately lit off serious speculation about what is going on with him. Is he possibly opting out again? Could he be considering retirement? Was he out of shape? Nobody could figure out a plausible reason. Apparently, that includes the Bears themselves. According to insider Adam Caplan on his Twitch show, they were shocked he didn’t show up and are concerned about what’s going on with the 27-year old.
So where do things stand?
Back on June 5th, a video surfaced of Goldman working out at a local training center in his Bears gear. This would at least suggest he is still planning to play in 2021. Both Nagy and teammate Danny Trevathan have said they believe the nose tackle will be present on July 31st when training camp begins. While missing minicamps was unexpected, it wasn’t a good enough reason to panic. At least not yet.
It is unlikely the decision had anything to do with his contract. Nor did he look out of shape in the workout video. One theory that might make some sense is lingering concerns over COVID-19. It is possible Goldman hasn’t been vaccinated. This means he’d have to endure the team’s strict protocols upon returning to Halas. Not to mention the lingering risk of infection. So he’s decided to avoid the locker room for as long as possible.
That is just a theory though.
Only Eddie Goldman knows the real reasons for his continued absence. One thing is clear. The Bears are somewhat better prepared to survive his loss this time around. This due to the arrivals of 7th round pick Khyiris Tonga and veteran Mike Pennel. If Goldman does aim not to play again in 2021, one can imagine the team will start the process of seeking out his long-term replacement.
Eddie Goldman isn’t helping matters with his silence
The big nose tackle has always been known for his quiet nature. He avoids anything to do with the media and even keeps to himself among teammates. While that is a great way to avoid saying the wrong things, it’s also a great way to stir up controversy when you do something unexpected like miss mandatory practices. What makes it so frustrating is answers aren’t forthcoming and won’t be for over a month.
It’s likely Bears fans won’t know the true depth of things until the media sees the big #91 on the field at Halas Hall for that first practice. It’s all speculation otherwise. If he is nowhere to be seen, then his fate with the organization becomes much clearer. Not just for the upcoming season but in general. Chicago isn’t likely to keep around a player they can’t trust to be present. They’ll likely seek to retrieve guarantees they paid him and then look to move on.
Hopefully, it won’t come to that.