FIrst-round pick Peria Jerry limped off the practice field in Atlanta on Saturday.
The day before, New Orleans linebacker Stanley Arnoux, a fourth-round pick from Wake Forest who Aaron Curry called the best player on their college team, ruptured an Achilles tendon in a minicamp practice.
Last weekend, New England linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, a third-round pick, blew out an ACL in minicamp.
Injuries happen in the offseason and no team knows better than the Bears. The good news coming out of Atlanta this morning is that Falcons coach Mike Smith called Jerry's injury a mild sprain. Remember though, that is what the Bears said second-round pick Dan Bazuin had in 2007 in a rookie minicamp. As it turned out, he had a knee injury that led to two surgeries and ultimately cost him his entire rookie season. Bazuin still wasn't the same player at the end of training camp last summer and wound up being cut. Arnoux and McKenzie will get to experience being rookies all over again next season. They're both done for the year.
Draft picks take part in rookie minicamps and portions of the offseason program without having contracts. They sign agreements with their teams that they will be given fair contracts in the event they are injured. That's not a big deal--it happens everywhere. The point worth making is that the offseason isn't without its share of bumps and bruises, some of them serious.
When the Bears opened up Halas Hall for OTA's last May it was discovered wide receiver Mark Bradley was on the shelf after arthroscopic knee surgery. He tweaked his knee running around in voluntary workouts. Missing nearly two months of work didn't help a player operating on the fringe of the roster. Defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek missed the bulk of the offseason program with a hand injury he suffered on the field. Fullback J.D. Runnels was lost for the season when he suffered a torn ACL in OTA's in 2007. He never saw the field for the Bears, who had all of those injuries happen in workouts in the last two years. Per the collective bargaining agreement, contact drills are outlawed in the offseason. That doesn't prevent players from running into one another. The Bears make only four of their 14 OTA dates open to media.
Coaches talk about making it through the regular season healthy. Teams need to be concerned about making it through the offseason healthy, or hope that injuries don't wipe out key players. The Bears offseason program continues at Halas Hall this week and OTA's will begin a week from Wednesday on May 20.