Few people, if any, were surprised when the Bears didn’t offer cornerback Kyle Fuller a fifth-year option.
That includes Fuller.
A 2014 first-round pick, Fuller admitted as much Tuesday, but then claimed he wasn’t worried about his future — or what this season might mean for the long term.
“I don’t think too much about that,” he said after organized team activities. “I’m really just focusing on doing my job every day.”
That didn’t happen in 2016, when a seemingly routine preseason arthroscopic knee procedure kept him out for the season. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio questioned how much Fuller really wanted to play.
Fuller said his knee is back to full strength.
“It was a long process,” he said. “But the most important part is where I am now. That’s all that matters.’’
But where is he?
There are questions about all of the Bears’ first-round picks this offseason. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s preseason snap counts will be monitored daily. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd had two concussions last year. Wide receiver Kevin White has played in only four games in two years, and guard Kyle Long is still recovering from ankle surgery in December.
But Fuller, entering the last year of his rookie contract, is no lock to even make the team.
In declining to extend his contract through the 2018 season a month ago — an option allowed for every first-round pick — the Bears have prepared for life without Fuller.
They signed veterans Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper, who figure to get the first chance to start at the outside cornerback positions.
Fuller claimed the Bears’ addition of veterans didn’t provide added motivation.
“It’s just an opportunity for you to compete every day,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to the opportunity I have right now.”
It’s a huge one. Make the team and play well, and Fuller will be in line for a multiyear deal with the Bears or someone else. If he fails, Fuller will go down as a draft bust.
His coaches have taken a wait-and-see approach. Defensive backs coach Ed Donatell said this month that he expected Fuller “to get back in there and compete,” and Fangio said he was hoping to see Fuller “moving like he’s 100 percent.”
This offseason is crucial.
“Every day,” Fuller said, “you have to have a sense of urgency.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.
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