Either I missed the story online that is in Saturday's print edition, or somewhere it got lost in the shuffle on the World Wide Web. So here is the unedited version of the story that is or was to be printed in Saturday's paper:
The Bears are going to have to evaluate one of the first goals of their offseason after discovering Friday running back Kevin Jones will miss the season with a torn ligament in his left ankle.
Jones, who they were featuring Thursday against Cleveland at Soldier Field to get a little extra work in before the regular season begins, jumped into the air along the sideline and when he landed on his left foot it buckled. An MRI revealed the damage and he will undergo surgery next week. Rehabilitation is expected to take 10 months, but Jones proved he was a quick healer when he came back from a torn ACL in his right knee last summer.
While he was a luxury addition last year, Jones was headed for an expanded role as Matt Forte's primary backup when he returned with a $3.5 million, two-year contract. Adrian Peterson might have been on the bubble to make the club and now he's a lock for the 53-man roster when it's officially announced later today along with Garrett Wolfe. The Bears could seek a free agent but word around the league was they are content to roll with three backs for now.
``We were anxious to give him a lot of carries and see where he was,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. ``I feel bad for him. He's had a good training camp and I know he was looking forward to getting a chance to make some plays and was excited about playing. You hate to see it.''
The question is whether or not Forte will get off the field. He rarely did last season, participating in 84 percent of the club's offensive snaps, the highest figure for a back in the league. Forte was third in the NFL with 316 rushes, and when you add in 63 receptions, he had 379 touches, most for the Bears since Walter Payton had 434 in 1984. Turner talked on multiple occasions last season about working in others, and the danger now is it will be all talk again. Forte was dogged by a toe injury late last season and the workload wore on him a little bit on his way to setting a rookie franchise record with 1,238 yards.
``It's tough,'' Forte said. ``A.P. has been playing, this is his eighth year, he knows what he's doing too. We've got Garrett too. We don't have any issues with that. We're real confident with both of them getting in the game.''
With Jones heading to injured reserve, the Bears must cut 21 players to reach the limit, and the team is expected to remove cornerback Charles Tillman from the physically unable to perform list. The Bears informed at least the majority of players that will be let go of their fate on Friday. Linebacker Marcus Freeman, the fifth-round pick from Ohio State, was the only casualty from the '09 draft class with guard Lance Louis, a seventh rounder, expected to stick after veteran Dan Buenning is cut. Wide receiver Brandon Rideau was informed he will be cut for the third straight year and is out of practice squad eligibility as Devin Armoashodu and Rashied Davis made the team.
Three days after signing veteran cornerback Rod Hood, the Bears told him he will be leaving but they are loading up at defensive back with durability concerns at corner and an eye toward stocking special teams. Cornerbacks Trumaine McBride and D.J. Moore are expected to make the team. Let go will be Rudy Burgess, Dahna Deleston, Marcus Hamilton and Woodny Turenne. The Bears are expected to keep 10 defensive linemen with tackle Matt Toeaina sticking around following consecutive strong preseason games. Ends Ervin Baldwin and Joe Clermond are expected to be released. Veterans Hunter Hillenmeyer, Jamar Williams and Nick Roach will be reserves at linebacker as Darrell McClover, Kevin Malast and Mike Rivera were informed they're leaving.
Back on offense, fullbacks Jason Davis and Will Ta'ufo'ou will be released with Ta'ufo'ou a good bet for the practice squad. Offensive linemen Cody Balogh, Johan Asiata and Donovan Raiola will also be purged. All three are practice squad candidates. Wide receiver Eric Peterman will be let go and quarterback Brett Basanez is also expected to be waived. With demand high for blocking tight ends, a source close to Michael Gaines said the team could be trying to trade him. We'll know soon.