After skipping voluntary portions of the Bears’ offseason workout programs, veteran receiver Alshon Jeffery was present at Day 1 of the Bears’ mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.
“I was so happy to see him this morning,” guard Kyle Long said. “Even happier when I saw him in the huddle and we were calling passing plays, and even happier when I’m seeing him make huge catches in traffic.”
Quarterback Jay Cutler was equally as pleased to have his primary weapon back in the huddle.
“I mean, you take a guy like that out of the offense, it’s going to be difficult,” Cutler said. “I think [Jeffery missing OTAs] was a great opportunity for Kevin White and Eddie Royal and some of these other guys to kind of grow in their position and get a little bit better. But it’s always good to have the big guy back out here.”
Jeffery is still hoping to reach a long-term deal with the team but will play under the 2016 franchise tag if no deal is reached by the NFL’s July 15 deadline.
“[A long-term deal] is the goal, but that’s between Pace and my agent,” Jeffery said, referring to Bears general manager Ryan Pace. “It really doesn’t matter to me. Like I said, that situation will take care of itself. I’m here to play football and to focus on football.”
The Bears desperately need Jeffery to play this season — and play well — if they’re going to be a competitive offensive football team. And that starts with Jeffery staying healthy and on the field.
“I was just working on some soft-tissue issues,” Jeffery said when asked why he remained away from facility this offseason. “I was working out with my trainer and some other people I was seeing down [in South Florida]. Me and my agent talked about it and felt it was best for me to train somewhere else.”