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Bears CB Jaylon Johnson on tardiness fine: ‘I can’t be mad, because I was late’

Bears coach Matt Nagy had an extended sit-down with Johnson after he posted a photo of his fine notice on Instagram.

Johnson has been the Bears’ top cornerback this season.
AP Photos

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson was surprised his fine for being late to work mushroomed into a big story, but it’s likely no one outside Halas Hall would’ve known about it if he hadn’t posted it on Instagram.

Johnson said Friday he meant to send the “innocent” post — a photo of the notice signed by coach Matt Nagy — to only his friends but tapped the “wrong button” and inadvertently vented his frustration to the world. Nagy learned of that during a news conference Wednesday and said it was time for them to have a chat.

“I messed up; I posted it when I didn’t need to,” Johnson said. “I’ve gotta own up to it. If I didn’t want that to happen in the first place, I shouldn’t have been late.

“I wasn’t worried about the discipline. It was more so a joke to my friends saying how much I got fined for being late. But that’s it.”

Johnson wrote in his post that he was one minute late Tuesday and called it “crazy” that the Bears docked him $2,745. Johnson is in the second season of his four-year, $6.5 million rookie contract.

When pressed about whether he was angry, Johnson said, “Nah. [Expletive], at the end of the day, I was late. I can’t be mad, because I was late.”

The kerfuffle came at an inconvenient time for Nagy and the Bears while they’re trying to keep their season afloat at 3-3 coming off a loss to the Packers.

COVID concerns

The Bears put tight end Jimmy Graham on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he tested positive Friday, meaning he’ll miss the game against the Buccaneers. Graham said he is vaccinated, so he would be able to return once he tests negative twice (24 hours apart).

The team still is waiting to see if running back Damien Williams and outside linebacker Robert Quinn will be cleared. They have until 3 p.m. Saturday, when teams must finalize their game rosters.

ESPN reported Williams is unvaccinated, so Saturday is the earliest he can be reinstated to the active roster if he tests negative and no longer is experiencing symptoms. Quinn is thought to be vaccinated and could come back as soon as he tests negative twice.

The Bears also have been working without wide receivers coach Mike Furrey, who tested positive last week.

Injury updates

The Bears ruled out starting safety Tashaun Gipson because of a hip injury, and the Bucs scratched tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Antonio Brown, linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Richard Sherman.

The Bears listed eight players as questionable, but most — including outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) and wide receiver Allen Robinson (ankle) — are expected to play.

Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks played through a groin injury last week and practiced partially Friday, indicating a good chance he’ll play. Punt and kick returner Jakeem Grant (ankle) was limited Friday.

Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols’ knee trouble kept him out of practice Thursday and Friday.