Bears Set to Lose Top Player for the Season in ‘Brutal’ Fashion: Report

Matt Eberflus

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus and the Chicago Bears suffered several tough injuries Week 12.

The Chicago Bears fear top wide receiver Darnell Mooney has suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the team’s Week 12 loss to the New York Jets.

According to NFL insider Tom Pelissero, Mooney is set to get more tests on November 28, but Chicago fears its top wideout has “suffered a season-ending ankle injury.”

The third-year receiver has been extremely reliable thus far and has yet to miss a game over his career with the Bears. Mooney didn’t register a catch in the team’s 31-10 loss to the Jets, but he leads the team in catches (40) and receiving yards (493) so far this season, also snagging two touchdowns.

The 25-year-old wideout has been a big contributor to the offense since he was drafted in the fifth round out of Tulane in 2020, and the Bears are going to miss him.

Mooney Injured Himself While Blocking

With 11:48 to go in the third quarter, Bears running back David Montgomery ran up the middle for a 13 yard gain, and Mooney had his ankle rolled up while blocking. Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic called it a classic example of “how brutal” football can be.

In addition to Pelissero’s report, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport also tweeted Mooney’s injury was season-ending, as the young receiver would likely need surgery to repair torn ligaments in his ankle.

“Darnell is our leading receiver and he’s done a great job,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said about Mooney after the loss New York. “When you lose the productions of those guys, number one, that always hurts and also the leadership part of it. Those guys have been great in the locker room. They are great teammates. They really are encouraging to others and they really model the behavior we wish to see.”

The Bears also lost several other players due to injury against the Jets, including All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson and offensive lineman Riley Reiff. After the game, Eberflus was asked about the condition of the turf at MetLife Stadium, which has been frequently criticized by players around the league.

“I’m not going to comment on that. I know the union has their own opinion on things,” Eberflus replied. “I’m coaching the football team and this is the turf that’s out there. We have to play on it.”

Bears players had plenty to say about it after the game, though.

Bears Players React to Darnell Mooney Injury

“If you spend any time with Darnell he’s one of the best dudes in the locker room,” Bears quarterback Trevor Siemian said about Mooney. “So, that’s the part of the game that stinks, but he’s a strong dude, when anybody gets hurt, especially Darnell, it’s tough to see.”

“It’s tough, especially when you’ve got some big team leaders that go down like that,” Bears tight end Cole Kmet added. “You hate to see, for us offensively, a guy like (WR Darnell) Mooney go down. A bright, vibrant guy in the huddle and obviously a big playmaker, so when you lose him, it’s tough for sure.”

“It was super hard because he helps out a lot,” Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool said. “He just spreads the offense out a little bit and he spreads the defense out a little bit. So, it was really tough to see him go down, especially to see how hard he works.”

Mooney led the team with 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns in 2021, and he has become the favorite target of franchise quarterback Justin Fields over the last two seasons. It’ll now be up to Claypool and the likes of Byron Pringle, Dante Pettis and Equanimeous St. Brown to step up in Mooney’s absence.

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