BOURBONNAIS – Bears coach John Fox didn’t seemed overly concerned. But “Alshon Jeffery Watch” is on after the star receiver didn’t finish practice on Wednesday at Olivet Nazarene University .
Jeffery exited with what Fox called “muscle tightness.” Asked to clarify, including what muscle tightened for Jeffery, Fox remained vague.
“No, no, it just got tight,” Fox said. “We’re going to be cautious with that type stuff, especially in the hot weather.”
Jeffery’s health is a priority for the organization and himself after he failed to get a long-term deal in the offseason. This season is essentially a prove-it year for Jeffery, who will play on his $14.6 million franchise tag,
His availability is an issue. Jeffery dealt with numerous lower-body, soft-tissue injuries in 2015 and appeared in only nine games.
Quarterback Jay Cutler said that Jeffery has had a great start to camp.
“ I think the conditioning kind of caught up with him a little bit today,” Cutler said. “The off day [which was Tuesday] usually throws guys off a little bit. But he started off fast today.
“I think offensively as a whole we kind of tailed off some. But I thought he made some big plays for us in the practices we’ve had. You really need one, two days with that guy and the timing is going to be there.”
The Bears’ list of ailing players remains long. Tight end Zach Miller and receiver Eddie Royal remain out with concussions.
Right guard Kyle Long (strained calf) returned to practice in limited fashion, while linebacker Danny Trevathan (knee) left early.
Offensive lineman Adrian Bellard appeared to suffer a serious knee injury and did not finish practice. Offensive lineman Nick Becton exited early because of an illness.
The following players were limited: tight end Khari Lee (sprained shoulder), defensive lineman Marquis Jackson (hamstring) and defensive lineman Terry Williams (shoulder).
The following players, meanwhile, did not practice: cornerback Brandon Boykin (pectoral), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (hamstring), tight end Ben Braunecker (ankle), receiver Derek Keaton (knee) and outside linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris (illness).
Outside linebacker Willie Young’s new contract is worth $13.55 million after his two-year extension.
It includes $9 million in guarantees, including a $2.7 million signing bonus. Young’s salary-cap numbers are: $4,716,668 in 2016, $4.1 million in 2017 and $5.4 million in 2018.