Bears notes: Cole Kmet, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, James Daniels injury updates
A look at the news of the day coming from Halas Hall beyond the injuries to Justin Fields and Teven Jenkins.
The newest injury concern for the Bears is tight end Cole Kmet’s hamstring issue.
Kmet, who rarely has had a whiff of health trouble since the Bears drafted him last year, missed practice Wednesday. As he did with quarterback Justin Fields’ groin injury, coach Matt Nagy downplayed Kmet’s absence as merely an “extremely conservative” approach to make sure he’s ready when it matters.
With the Bears still more than three weeks away from their season opener against the Rams, they can afford to take it slowly with players they believe don’t need the reps as much as others.
Kmet opened his career with 28 catches, 243 yards and two touchdowns while playing 56% of the snaps last season. He played 70% or more in each of the last seven regular-season games and the playoff loss.
“You’re going to see his game step up speed-wise,” Nagy said of Kmet last week. “Last year, [he’s] probably thinking a little bit and then when we got a chance to make a play, he did. This year you’re probably going to see a little more, ‘Hey, I was open; Get me the ball,’ or ‘Hey, run to my side,’ that he didn’t have last year.”
Kmet and Fields joined an ever-morphing injury list for the Bears, along with defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (back) being added Wednesday. The Bears also gave several players, including linebackers Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, a rest day.
Hicks’ mysterious absence
A series of six questions about defensive tackle Akiem Hicks yielded no useful information from Nagy about his star player’s abrupt exit from practice Tuesday.
“There’s no update,” Nagy said. “He’s back today. That’s the only thing that matters.”
It’s not, though.
Whether it was related to health, his contract situation or something else, something significant clearly happened with Hicks. He left during stretching, then Nagy spoke with trainer Andre Tucker before getting into an extended conversation on the field with general manager Ryan Pace.
That bizarre scene, coupled with Nagy’s dodgy responses, registered as curious.
“He’s been fine,” Nagy said. “We want him to come out and play good football. That’s all. You know what I mean? Go sack the quarterback and stop the run.”
It has been choppy for Hicks, 31, since the end of last season. He’s in the final season of a four-year, $48 million contract, and agent Drew Rosenhaus has said he wants an extension. Hicks also reportedly was given permission to explore trade possibilities in the offseason while the Bears made cost-cutting moves.
He has refused to speak to the media since the start of camp.
Daniels back in business
Bears right guard James Daniels spoke to the media for the first time since tearing a pectoral muscle in Week 5 last season and going on injured reserve. He is optimistic about the offensive line this season despite the constant injury-related disruption it has encountered already.
The Bears have moved him among the three interior O-line positions over the three seasons since drafting him No. 39 overall, but now he is locked into the right-guard spot and should benefit from the continuity.
“Position-wise, it doesn’t really matter,” Daniels said. “I feel good wherever the Bears want me to play. I’ll be fine with that.”