Bears rookie Teven Jenkins could miss entire 2021 season after undergoing back surgery, per report

It turns out the Bears didn’t just sign longtime Eagles standout Jason Peters this week to compete for their left tackle job. They needed Jason Peters to be their left tackle. Coach Matt Nagy told reporters Wednesday that second-round pick Teven Jenkins, drafted to take over the role as a rookie, will undergo surgery for a back injury that’s kept him sidelined for all of training camp. Nagy said “the goal is to get him back this season,” but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Jenkins’ 2021 season may already be over.

When the Bears signed the 39-year-old Peters, it was a clear indication they weren’t counting on Jenkins to return in time for a Week 1 debut. But the rookie’s surgery is set to keep him off the field until at least November, per Schefter. Jenkins battled back issues in college at Oklahoma State, and while the Bears initially characterized his early-camp absence as just a mild concern, it’s now possible the 39th overall pick will be forced to wait until 2022 to crack Chicago’s lineup.

“This is veering toward Kevin White territory … with a seemingly minor July health issue mushrooming into something far more concerning,” the Chicago Tribune‘s Dan Wiederer wrote this week. “The Bears’ attempts at the outset of camp to downplay the severity of Jenkins’ back injury and Nagy’s assertions a week later that things were ‘trending in the right direction’ have proved hollow.”

In the meantime, the Bears will rely on Peters to keep new quarterback Andy Dalton (and/or first-round pick Justin Fields, his inevitable successor) upright in the pocket. Peters is a nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro — one of the game’s best at his position during his prime — but has battled injury concerns of his own in recent years, missing 20 games over the last four years.

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