Teven Jenkins played his first NFL snaps last Sunday against Arizona as part of the field goal unit. That might not seem like much to fans. However, for him? It was significant. That was the first actual football the rookie had played since December 29th of 2020. Between then and the moments against Arizona had been a frustrating string of issues capped by not one but two separate back injuries.
During his first press conference in months, Jenkins had a chance to offer details on what exactly happened back in the summer. He confirmed what GM Ryan Pace said at the time of his surgery in August. This back injury and the one he suffered in college were unrelated to each other. This one proved to be considerably more severe. From his explanation to reporters, two interesting details emerged. The fact he may have aggravated the issue early in training camp by trying to rush back and how debilitating the pain was prior to going under the knife.
For those who have never experienced back injuries before, Jenkins offered a perfect example of what it can be like. Such injuries never just affect the back area. They often spread into both the legs and the neck regions as well. This is because the spinal cord is connected everywhere. When pain in the back grows severe enough, the electric charges from it will go shooting through the nerves.
At that point, nothing feels like it is working properly. It isn’t a shock at all the rookie opted for surgery once it got that bad. More than anything it’s nice to hear that the pain is gone. His back seems fully recovered. Even to a point where he feels like a new man. This bodes well for whenever he does see legitimate action on the offensive line in the near future.
Teven Jenkins wants to play but will wait his turn
He made it clear he feels 100% and ready to go. However, the decision to play or not isn’t up to him. That rests with the coaching staff. Head coach Matt Nagy has said the team will stick with veteran Jason Peters for the time being since the Bears aren’t technically eliminated from the playoffs yet. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo believes the rookie needs to get himself up to speed in practice before he can play actual games.
One must not forget Teven Jenkins hasn’t played in a long time. He has practiced in pads much at all. To think he’d be ready to take on NFL pass rushers so soon after being activated is just not realistic. He knows his job for now. That is to back up Peters and continue to learn everything possible from the future Hall of Famer.
His opportunity will come.
It is just a matter of time. Perhaps if the Bears lose to Green Bay on Sunday as most expect that will compel the coaches to start giving him more snaps down the stretch. They would come against a string of mostly average defenses. Four games of work would go a long way in preparing him for 2022.