The Bears’ beleaguered offensive line got a boost Sunday when the team activated center Cody Whitehair off the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list. He could start Monday night against the Vikings, presuming the calf injury that cost him a start against the Saints has healed in time.
Whitehair tested positive for the coronavirus Nov. 5. NFL players can’t return until 10 days after their symptoms first appeared and three days since they last appeared. Asymptomatic players can return as soon as five days after the initial positive — assuming they test negative twice at least 24 hours apart.
Bears coach Matt Nagy, who has refused to say whether Whitehair has symptoms, hinted Saturday that he could return.
“I just don’t have any answers right now,” he said. “But I would certainly say it’s a possibility.”
For the Titans game, he was replaced by Alex Bars, who had never played center — even dating to high school.
“Really, really proud of the way he handled that,” Nagy said of Bars. “That is not easy. He did a great job. Kid is such a true professional. Takes the game very seriously. I thought he did a really, really good job, as did the rest of the coaches. Again, depending on what happens with Cody’s situation, with Alex, we’re lucky to have him.”
The Bears made four other expected moves, promoting running back Lamar Miller, a former Pro Bowl player, and second-string quarterback Tyler Bray from the practice squad. Nose tackle Daniel McCullers was called up, too, and figures to again help in run defense. The Bears also promoted new backup center/guard Eric Kush, who signed to the practice squad last week but knows Nagy’s system from his previous Bears stint.