The future of Chicago Bears offensive lineman Teven Jenkins met with the media for the first time since earlier this year in the spring following practice on Saturday. Teammate Khalil Herbert said that he joked with the former second-round pick that he hadn’t seen him in pads since the last game of last season.
A lot has changed since then.
Chicago Bears OL Teven Jenkins Sends Strong Message Amid Trade Rumors
Clearing the Air
Jenkins has a relatively lofty draft pedigree, especially in Halas Hall as a former second-round pick and the first selection for the franchise in his particular class. In many situations, that would afford a player ample opportunity. However, an entirely new regime has pooled Jenkins with a group of veterans, younger players, and even a rookie all vying for up to three spots along the front five.
The expectation was still that Jenkins would be the team’s right tackle by the time camp broke.
But back injuries and reports of maturity issues had seemingly gotten in the way of that opportunity, which Jenkins says he feels he has been given.
His media session was mostly about dispelling some rumors that have popped up amid his absence. ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan reported that he was hearing Jenkins had been clashing with offensive line coach Chris Morgan and had shown signs of immaturity.
Jenkins addressed the rumors on Saturday.
“From my understanding, i love the coaches we have no animosity towards each other. We talk every day. And, yea, that’s it.”
Asked about responding to a fan asking what was going on with him on Twitter, Jenkins revealed that too was about his relationship with Morgan and the coaching staff.
“Just one thing mainly that I was clashing with coaches. That was totally not true. And I wanted to tell everybody that you don’t have to believe everything somebody says.”
Jenkins said his belief in himself is why he thinks he can still win a starting spot. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy also said Jenkins would “be in that mix” when he gets back into the flow. Jenkins said that he will continue with what head coach Matt Eberflus calls a “ramp-up period” that features a lot of individual work while the player works up to team drills.
That starting spot may have to come somewhere other than left tackle where Jenkins would seem to be behind rookie Braxton Jones – who left practice briefly on Saturday but soon returned – and veteran Riley Reiff who was signed right before camp began. Reiff has also mixed in on the right side with Larry Borom.
“I gotta get better myself and work on myself”, said Jenkins.
Asked specifically about a potential position change, Jenkins said that he is open to a move inside to guard.
“I’m willing to play wherever they want me. I want to be here in Chicago so I’m playing wherever they want me to play.”
There is still competition at right guard as well (Cody Whitehair is the closest thing to a lock at left guard) with the Bears adding Michael Schofield and mixing in Ja’Tyre Carter.
But there were some who felt Jenkins would be a better fit at guard during the draft process.
Teven Jenkins Wants to Stay with Bears
Jenkins said he is happy in Chicago and that he expects to be with the Bears in the regular season. He also put himself around “90%” but did not expand when asked what exactly he was dealing with.
He also confirmed Eberflus’ account that he had been at Halas Hall working with trainers during his absence from practice.
The 6-foot-4, “321.8”-pound lineman admitted to some frustrations over not being able to get out on the field sooner and that it is costing him valuable experience. But he acknowledged that it was “for the betterment of my health”.
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It is always tough for players to dispel rumors particularly when their team doesn’t address it clearly or let the players do so while injured as is the Bears’ acting policy.
Jenkins said that he has not spoken with general manager Ryan Poles about the trade rumors. He added that he only speaks with his agent, Joel Siegel, about those things but declined to disclose how those talks have gone. In the end, he is getting healthier and looks to add to the competition along the offensive line and that is truly all that matters for everyone involved.
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