This is not good. As if things couldn’t get worse for the Chicago Bears‘ offensive line, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the first player on the Bears’ active roster has tested positive for COVID-19: offensive lineman Jason Spriggs. Rapoport also noted that starting guard Germain Ifedi was deemed to be a high-risk close contact with Spriggs and will be placed on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list along with Spriggs.
#Bears OT Jason Spriggs tested positive for COVID-19, source said. In addition, G Germain Ifedi was determined to be a high-risk close contact, and while he’ll go on the list, he does have a chance to be back and play on Sunday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2020
Spriggs, who saw his role increase this week when Bobby Massie went down for at least a month with a leg injury, was slated to start for the Bears Week 9 against the Titans. Now, their entire offensive line is a question mark. As Rapoport noted, Ifedi could potentially play Sunday if he has several subsequent negative tests. Thus, the next several days will be crucial for the Bears.
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Bears Promote Undrafted Rookie to Roster, Add Veteran Center to Practice Squad
After the news of positive COVID results broke, the Bears announced they added seventh round draft pick Lachavious Simmons to the active roster. They also signed ex-Rams center Aaron Neary to the practice squad.
Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs have been placed on our reserve/COVID-19 list. Bobby Massie has been placed on IR and we have promoted Lachavious Simmons from our practice squad to the active roster. We have also signed Aaron Neary to the practice squad.@Hyundai | #DaBears
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 3, 2020
The 6-5, 315 pound Simmons has spent the entire season on the team’s practice squad, and will likely serve as a reserve tackle Sunday against the Titans. The Bears had Neary in for a workout this week, and they must have liked what they saw, because they added him to their 16-player practice squad shortly after.
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Bears Projected Starting Lineup vs Titans: What the Heck Will the OL Look Like?!
Here’s a breakdown of the Bears’ current situation on offensive line: Starting left guard James Daniels is out for the year. Starting right tackle Bobby Massie is out for a month or more. Starting center Cody Whitehair’s injury doesn’t appear that serious, but he could miss the team’s Week 9 contest. As of now, the Bears have one healthy starter on the line: left tackle Charles Leno Jr.
Thus, the health of Ifedi will be key for the Bears this week. He has been a pleasant surprise in his first year with the team, drastically reducing his penalties so far this season. If he clears COVID-19 protocols, he’ll be good to go at right guard. The rest of the lineup — should he test positive — would be a bit eyebrow-raising.
Sam Mustipher was filling in for Whitehair at center, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune broke the news Tuesday afternoon that Mustipher had been injured during Sunday’s loss to the Saints, and the team expects him to miss time.
Thus, second-year UDFA Alex Bars could get the nod at either center or left guard, depending on the health of Whitehair. Rashaad Coward should get the start at right tackle with Massie out and right guard Arlington Hambright — another seventh round selection by Chicago this year — could get his first career start.
With Simmons now on the roster, offensive linemen Badara Traore and Dieter Eiselen could eventually see their numbers called, as well.
Much will come to light over the next several days, and the Bears have to hope they see no more positive cases come up because if they do, it’s going to be a long couple of weeks in Chicago.