Alshon Jeffery returns to Bears, says long-term deal is ‘goal’

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Bears WR Alshon Jeffery. (AP)

Having returned to the Bears’ mandatory minicamp Tuesday, Alshon Jeffery defended his decision to train in Florida rather than with his teammates and said he would report to training camp on time in July.

He was vaguer, though, when asked about his future with the team.

The receiver said he “would love to win a championship here,” but said negotiations on a long-term deal were between Bears GM Ryan Pace and his agent, Tory Dandy. Asked whether they were in negotiations, the already-quiet Jeffery demurred, saying that the information was between the two men only.

If the two sides don’t reach an agreement by July 15, Jeffery will play the season under the tag.

“It really doesn’t matter to me,” Jeffery said of that possibility. “The situation will take care of itself.”

Jeffery signed a one-year, $14.59 million franchise tag tender in March; as such, he would have been fined had he not returned to Halas Hall after missing the Bears’ voluntary offseason program.

He missed seven regular-season games and all four preseason games last season because of various soft-tissue injuries, finishing with 54 catches for 807 yards and four touchdowns. He said he focused on reducing the risk of soft-tissue damage in Florida, but admitted part of last year was bad luck.

“It’s a part of the game,” he said. “There’s a 99 percent chance you’re going to get hurt. So no matter what happens at some point in time everybody in the NFL is going to get hurt. So it doesn’t matter what you’re going through or how you train, you’re going to get hurt.”

Coach John Fox said Jeffery should be able to absorb Dowell Loggains’ new offense, which has kept the terminology of Adam Gase’s scheme.

“I think he’s familiar with our offense,” Fox said. “We haven’t changed too much, although we changed some things and he’s got a new position coach, a new offensive coordinator, so everybody’s got their own little spin on stuff. I think we have plenty of time to get him ready.”

Kyle Long was “so happy” to see him.

“Even happier when I saw him in the huddle and we were calling passing plays,” he said. “And even happier when I’m seeing him make huge catches in traffic.

“I told him, I said ‘Dude, it’s great to have you back.’”

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