CINCINNATI — After having three offseason surgeries — on his neck, shoulder and elbow — guard Kyle Long returned to competitive football games Thursday.
Long started the Bears’ second exhibition against the Bengals and departed after one series. It was his first game action since Dec. 3. After missing one game in his first three seasons, Long has started only 17 of the Bears’ last 32 regular-season games because of various maladies, including a grisly ankle injury suffered midway through the 2016 season.
“I felt good,” Long said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of football to be played, but it’s nice to get out there during the preseason and get some reps.”
Running back Jordan Howard, who banged his knee earlier in the week, didn’t dress for the game. Wide receiver Allen Robinson, who spent the offseason recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, also did not play.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan and cornerback Prince Amukamara were the two defensive starters who sat out.
Others who did not play included inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc, safety Deon Bush, running back Benny Cunningham, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and center Hroniss Grasu.
On Wednesday, the Bears announced that tight end Dion Sims, wide receiver Josh Bellamy, inside linebacker Isaiah Irving and cornerback Rashard Fant didn’t make the trip.
The Bears have acknowledged injuries to Iyiegbuniwe (shoulder), Lynch (hamstring), Gabriel (foot), Grasu (calf), Bellamy (shoulder) and Irving (ankle).
Facing fourth-and-four from their 24-yard line in the second quarter, the Bengals — shockingly for the preseason — faked a punt.
They snapped the ball directly to upback Clayton Fejedelem, who ran left and up the sideline for 49 yards. It took almost 35 yards for a Bear to touch the Illinois alum, who also serves as the Bengals’ second-string safety.
When the Bears finally tackled him, wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, the punt returner, was flagged 15 yards for violating the league’s new use-of-helmet rule.
“Can’t lead with your head,” Ayers said. “I thought I put myself in a position to make a play and really just try to grab an ankle, and I guess I ended up hitting him with my head.”
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Fejedelem is taught to audible into a fake when the opposition shows certain looks, which happened against the Bears.
This and that
Second-round pick James Daniels made his preseason debut in the first quarter. Daniels played center after being cross-trained at left guard and center earlier in camp.
‘‘I gotta go back and watch it and see the details of his technique, but for the most part, man, I thought he played pretty well,” coach Matt Nagy said. “That was really neat to see. I was proud of him.”
† For the second consecutive week, the Bears linked arms during the national anthem.
† Bears linebacker Josh Woods was ruled out in the second quarter with a hand injury.