Chicago Bears head coach John Fox watches against the Washington Redskins during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh
December 24, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) Leonard Floyd has provided flashes of hope throughout another lost year for the Chicago Bears, showing signs of becoming an effective edge rusher.

There's now reason for concern as the season winds down.

Floyd was sidelined by a concussion for the second time in a month in the first half of Chicago's 41-21 loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday. That is prompting questions about potential long-term health issues for the rookie linebacker.

''I get concerned about any player that gets injured, not just Leonard,'' coach John Fox said. ''It is a physical game and injuries are part of it. I don't want to single one guy out.''

It was unclear exactly when Floyd got hurt. He was carted off from the sideline early in the second quarter with a towel over his head.

''You feel for your guys. You always want them to be as healthy as they can be,'' defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said.

There were questions about Floyd's size and strength heading into the NFL draft, and he also had surgery on each shoulder during his collegiate career at Georgia. But the Bears loved his athleticism and quickness, and they traded up to grab him with the ninth overall pick.

The early returns have been positive. Floyd, listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, is tied with Hicks for second on the team with seven sacks in 12 games.

The 24-year-old Floyd had one of the Bears' best defensive plays of the season when he sacked Aaron Rodgers, got up and jumped on a fumble in the end zone for his first career touchdown during a 26-10 loss at Green Bay on Oct. 20. He also sacked Blaine Gabbert for a safety in the fourth quarter of a 26-6 win against San Francisco on Dec. 4.

But he might have to sit out of the season finale at Minnesota next weekend after leaving against Washington.

Floyd also was evaluated for a concussion after a scary collision late in a Nov. 20 loss to the New York Giants sent him to the hospital. He was released in time to travel with the team back to Chicago, but missed a game with a neck injury.

Floyd's absence hurt Chicago's ability to put pressure on Kirk Cousins, who passed for 270 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins' victory. Cousins also rushed for two TDs.

The Bears (3-12) had no sacks.

''We're shooting ourselves in the foot,'' linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. ''I think that was the biggest problem: knowing the situation, knowing the play, knowing the defensive play and what's coming out there.''

Beginning with Chris Thompson's 7-yard touchdown run up the middle in the first quarter, Washington (8-6-1) scored on four straight possessions. Thompson also had a 17-yard touchdown reception on a well-timed screen play, Dustin Hopkins kicked a 29-yard field goal, and Cousins scored on a 9-yard run around the right side.

''Lot of things in that game that we could have done better,'' Hicks said. ''Seems to be the story of the year. You have to deal with that and move on. It's not the situation we want to be in and you got to take that one on the chin and keep pushing.''

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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