Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tarik Cohen All But Confirmed To Be Done For 2021

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On September 27th of 2020, Tarik Cohen suffered a devastating knee injury that knocked him out for the season. It was later revealed to be a torn ACL. The typical recovery time for that ailment is between eight and nine months. If all things went as expected, then the running back would return in time for the start of the 2021 season. Now here the Chicago Bears are, nearing their 12th game of the year and Cohen is nowhere in sight.



This has inevitably led to fears that something went wrong. Either the injury was more severe than expected or Cohen suffered complications during the recovery process. That is the only explanation that seems to make any sense. Either way, one thing is becoming apparent. There is a good chance the running back will not play in 2021. A belief that gained even further traction when head coach Matt Nagy dodged any attempts by the media to get an answer on his progress.

You know it’s bad when even Nagy can’t summon the optimism.

The running theory among fans and the media is that Cohen suffered a setback during rehab. This forced him to go back under the knife to get the knee cleaned up again. That is why the recovery has taken far longer than expected. It isn’t the first time this has happened for professional athletes. As advanced as modern medicine is, it’s not a perfect process. One thing is for sure, Cohen is tired of hearing from people that he might not be anxious to return.

There is no question the Bears have missed him. The running back position just hasn’t been a big factor in the passing game this year. Part of that is because the scheme isn’t utilizing guys like David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert enough but it’s also due to Cohen being out. He was easily their most versatile weapon on offense from 2018 to 2020. With him gone, the offense hasn’t looked the same.

Tarik Cohen may have to worry about his job upon return

Presuming he is done for 2021, that means the running back won’t see action until next summer at the earliest. It is fair to wonder if the Bears will be interested in keeping him at that point. Remember that there is a strong chance both Nagy and GM Ryan Pace could be fired at the end of this season. They are his two biggest supporters in Halas Hall. Would a new regime be interested in paying just under $6 million to a running back coming off major knee surgery?

The Bears would receiver $2.25 million in cap space by cutting or trading Tarik Cohen next offseason. Given how much work this roster needs elsewhere and the fact they have Montgomery and Herbert in place? It would not be a shock if they decided to cut bait. What an incredibly sad ending that would be to one of the best stories this franchise has produced in the past several years.

Cohen is hoping it doesn’t reach that point.

Still, it feels like the team isn’t in any rush to get him back on the field. All updates indicate he is no closer to returning than three months ago. Almost always in these situations, the player isn’t going to play. It isn’t the first time a torn ACL has robbed athletes of not one but two seasons. Fans can only hope that when Cohen finally does return he isn’t a complete shell of the player he once was.

Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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