Eddie Goldman has yet to return to the Chicago Bears after not playing at all during the 2020 season. The nose tackle opted out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some expected his return for the team’s three day mandatory veteran minicamp, which kicked off June 15. That didn’t happen.
Goldman, who is one of the most underrated members of the Bears defense and one of its best run stuffers, was sorely missed last year. The Bears finished 15th in the league against the run last season. They were the best run-stopping unit in the NFL in 2018 and ninth-best in 2019, so falling out of the top 10 felt significant for a unit that still had Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks on the field for much of the time.
When Bears head coach Matt Nagy spoke with the media after the first day of veteran camp on June 15, he was asked directly about Goldman’s absence — and the Bears coach didn’t have many answers.
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Nagy Says The Team & Goldman Have Spoken
With Bears veterans reporting to camp June 15, the bulk of the team’s starters were present, with Goldman being the most notable absence. When he was asked about the team’s stud nose tackle not being on the field, Nagy certainly wasn’t happy about it.
“You’re right, he wasn’t out here, and again, for us, we’re out here practicing and as everybody knows it’s a mandatory minicamp and he’s not here,” Nagy said. “But we did have a discussion with him yesterday — obviously I’m going to keep that between us — but we do expect him to be at training camp rocking and rolling.”
Nagy was also asked if Goldman’s absence was an excused one. “No. This is a mandatory minicamp for us,” the Bears coach said.
Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times, a Bears insider and reporter who was the first to break the news of Allen Robinson’s planned attendance at minicamp, said via Twitter Nagy seemed “clearly displeased that Eddie Goldman is skipping minicamp.”
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Goldman is Expected to Be At Training Camp Beginning July 27
Despite being absent for mandatory camp this June, Nagy said he expects Goldman to be at training camp this summer when it kicks off July 27. “No, I don’t think it’s in doubt,” Nagy said. “I really feel confident that he is going to be here. Obviously when someone is not in minicamp that’s probably what a lot of people will think and start wondering what the deal is and that’s natural and okay and normal. But we fully expect him to be there and again I’m just super pumped about all the guys that are here right now and just where they are at.”
When asked whether he thought Goldman’s absence was related to his COVID-19 opt out, Nagy said he wasn’t sure:
I can’t say that I know that. We had a discussion as far as me talking to Ryan and just knowing everything that is going on and just talking to this coaches. Didn’t get into a whole lot of details and that’s okay. The way I look at it, honestly, is this is where we are at right now, the guys that show up are the guys that are here and the same thing when we get into training camp. That will speak volumes as to where guys are at as well. Do we wish he was here? Absolutely, because we think he is a hell of a player and he has been out a whole year so I can’t specifically tell you that I know that for sure.
According to one of his teammates on defense, Goldman will be there for training camp. Linebacker Danny Trevathan told the media on June 16 that he has been communicating with Goldman, and he seems to think the nose tackle will show up later this summer.
You can watch Nagy’s entire conversation with the media below: