Wide receiver N’Keal Harry’s stint with the Chicago Bears has hit a significant speed bump.
The 24-year-old wideout is set to undergo tightrope surgery on August 11, as first reported by NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo. Harry suffered a high-ankle sprain during the team’s August 6 practice, and the surgery is meant to stabilize his ankle.
Via Sports Illustrated, “In tightrope fixation, surgeons slip a high-strength suture through small holes in the bone, fasten it with small metal buttons and then tighten it as you would a zip tie. The procedure takes about 25 minutes.”
As Garafolo noted, the expectation is for Harry to miss approximately eight weeks, which would likely make him ready for action sometime in October.
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Bears Have Options When it Comes to Harry
Considering the paltry draft capital the team gave up to trade for him, Chicago could very well release the young wideout. But if the Bears want to give Harry, who was a first-round pick in 2019, another shot after his failed stint in New England, they have options.
They cannot place him on the physically unable to perform list, as he would’ve had to have been on the PUP list at the start of training camp in order to receive that designation, but they can place him on their initial 53-man roster and then put him on injured reserve. He’d be required to miss at least four games in that situation. They Bears could also simply keep him on their roster, too.
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If Harry Returns in 8 Weeks, it Sets Up Potential Revenge Game vs. Patriots
Bears general manager Ryan Poles sent a 2024 seventh-round draft pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for Harry on July 12, and if he’s still on the roster and ready to go, a potential revenge game against his former team would await him.
Should Harry return on time, it’s possible he’ll be ready for Chicago’s Monday Night Football matchup against New England at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on October 24.
Harry played 33 games over his first three seasons with the Pats, starting 18. His best season came in 2020, when he caught 33 passes on 57 targets for 309 yards and two touchdowns (stats via Pro Football Reference). He finished his tenure in New England with 57 catches for 598 receiving yards and four scores.
Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus detailed why things didn’t work out for Harry in New England, which included an ankle injury suffered in training camp that cut his rookie campaign short, the fact that “the Patriots’ system is notoriously difficult to learn,” and the idea that Harry had maturity issues that may have “stemmed from an inability to communicate with Patriots coaches effectively.”
Could the young receiver possibly return to face the team that drafted in later dealt him?
That would make for a dramatic scene, but a lot has to happen in order to get to that point. We’ll know soon enough what Chicago’s plans for Harry are.