Bears training camp notes: Tackle Teven Jenkins returns to practice

Jenkins says rumors about clashing with coaches are ‘not true’

Chicago Bears offensive line Teven Jenkins works on the field at the team's practice facility, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Lake Forest.

LAKE FOREST – Bears tackle Teven Jenkins made his return to practice Saturday for the first time in 10 days. He had been sitting out since July 27 with an undisclosed injury.

There has been much speculation surrounding Jenkins. The NFL Network reported last week that the Bears were potentially seeking to trade the second-year pro, who was the 39th overall pick in the 2021 draft.

During practice Saturday, Jenkins was very limited in his participation. He did not play in any team drills, so it’s hard to know where he stands on the depth chart at this time. After practice, Jenkins spoke publicly for the first time since camp began.

He said there is no animosity with his coaches. He declined to specify anything about his injury.

“I’ve been in the training room trying to get better, just health-wise,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been in there ever since I’ve been out, after the first day of training camp.”

The 24-year-old declined to say if the injury was related to his previous back injury. He missed more than half of last season following back surgery in August 2021.

Jenkins noted that he loves Chicago and wants to remain with the Bears. Several days ago, he responded to a fan’s question on Twitter and wrote “don’t believe everything you read.” On Saturday, he said his tweet was in regards to rumors he was clashing with his coaches.

“That was totally not true,” Jenkins said.

Asked specifically if he spoke with general manager Ryan Poles after the trade reports became public, Jenkins said, “The only person I talk to is Joel Segal, my agent.”

Jenkins, if on the field, is expected to battle for one of the starting tackle positions. He plans to participate more and more in the coming days.

“I would say that we’re ramping him up,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “Today he did individual and tomorrow we’ll ramp it up. We’ll talk with [Andre Tucker], our trainer, and we’ll work it from there.”

A day earlier, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said he expected Jenkins to come in and compete for a job at tackle.

“He’s someone who’s super talented, that should jump in there and, hopefully, he takes advantage of the opportunities he’s going to get,” Getsy said Friday.

During Jenkins’ absence, veteran Riley Reiff, second-year pro Larry Borom and rookie fifth-round draft pick Braxton Jones have seen the majority of the reps at the left and right tackle positions. Those three appear to be the front runners to land the starting jobs.

It could be an uphill battle for Jenkins to find playing time, but it starts with stepping onto the field. In that regard, Saturday was a step in the right direction.

“If I had to give myself a percent, probably around 90%,” Jenkins said. “It’s just about working my body back into the feeling of football again and getting back to that 100%.”

Attendance: Veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn returned to practice after missing one day. Quinn had an excused absence on Friday, according to Eberflus.

Receiver Byron Pringle (quad) will be out for a while. Eberflus provided no timeline. Receiver Velus Jones Jr. and cornerback Kyler Gordon are day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

Cornerbacks Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley sat out practice Saturday, as did tight end James O’Shaughnessy and defensive tackle Angelo Blackson. Center Lucas Patrick (hand) and cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. (hamstring) remain out.

Receiver N’Keal Harry suffered an apparent ankle injury Saturday. A teammate rolled up on his leg while he was making a block during 11-on-11. Tackle Braxton Jones also left practice briefly, but did return. Eberflus didn’t have any update on Harry, but he did say Braxton Jones should be “fine.”

Transactions: The Bears waived linebacker Christian Albright and signed free agent linebacker DeMarquis Gates on Saturday morning. Gates was a USFL star in the spring as a member of the Birmingham Stallions. He won the USFL championship and was an All-USFL selection.

The 26-year-old linebacker went undrafted out of Ole Miss in 2018 and had brief stints with Cleveland, Washington and Minnesota, but never made it through training camp. He has since played in the XFL, the CFL and the USFL.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.