Chicago Bears

Pernell McPhee’s potential return can keep the Bears out of the cellar

Sept. 27, 2015 - Seattle, WA, USA - Chicago Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (92) pressures Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015m at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (Photo by Chicago Tribune/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire)
Chicago Tribune/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire

The Chicago Bears were fully expected to go into the tank after losing not only quarterback Jay Cutler, but also a plethora of other key players to injuries. One of those players was linebacker Pernell McPhee, who may be the best defensive player the Bears currently have on their roster. While the Bears are indeed 1-4 on the season, the shift to backup quarterback Brian Hoyer after Cutler’s injury has actually injected some life into their offense. Now, it seems as though the Bears may actually get McPhee back at some point within the next three weeks.

As reported by ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson, McPhee practiced on Friday for the first time since being placed on the physically unable to perform list after offseason knee surgery. This means that McPhee cannot play on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but if he’s healthy enough, could return the following Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.

If he does not return within 21 days, then McPhee would be out for the remainder of the season. Fortunately, the star linebacker seems to be feeling pretty good at this point.

“I feel great man I’m out there practicing, running around with my teammates,” McPhee said. “So that’s the best feeling in the world.”

While the Bears top linebacker has been battling injuries on and off, he was still productive in 2015, tallying 53 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks. This came in his first season with the team, as the Bears signed him to a five-year contract during the 2015 offseason. Head coach John Fox sounded off on what it was like seeing McPhee back in the action on Friday.

“Obviously, he was excited,” Bears coach John Fox said. “It was good to see a smile on his face. It was the first time he’s got a chance to go out there and actually practice with the team and go through some drills.”

Unfortunately, McPhee’s return isn’t likely to catapult the injury-plagued Bears back into the playoff mix. At the very worst, though, he’s going to help inject some life back into their defense, and potentially their team as a whole. The Bears are in a bit of a rebuild mode currently, as they’re running with Hoyer at quarterback and rookie Jordan Howard at running back, who’s been exceptional in his limited time as the starter.

Overall, the Bears looked destined for a top-three pick just a few weeks ago, but after a victory against the Detroit Lions and a narrow loss on the road to the Indianapolis Colts, things are looking slightly up. Fans may actually want to see the Bears wind up with a top draft pick, but thanks to the play of their offense, and the pending return of players like McPhee, there may be quite a few more wins coming on the horizon for the Bears.

Stay tuned, because as crazy as it sounds, the return of McPhee may wind up propelling the Bears to a few wins, while the choice to leave him sidelined would place the team in a pretty tough spot for the remainder of 2016.

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