Bears safety Jordan Lucas signed as a free agent before last season and then opted out, and now he seems destined to miss another season.
To get their roster down to the required 80 players on Tuesday, the Bears put Lucas on injured reserve. They did the same with another former Kansas City Chiefs player, defensive end Mike Pennel.
The other three players they trimmed were undrafted rookie running back C.J. Marable, undrafted offensive lineman Dareuan Parker and former practice squad tackle Badara Traore.
Losing Lucas and Pennel definitely hurts their depth to an extent, although in both cases it appears they have plenty of this at those positions. They have Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Marqui Christian at safety behind Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson.
Lucas was doing some returning in preseason and in training camp and had even played a bit of slot cornerback besides being a safety in camp.
Lucas is suffering from a quad injury and Pennel from a groin injury suffered in Saturday's game against Buffalo, and they have missed practice since then.
Pennel is 330 pounds and was thought to be ideal size-wise to be a backup at either end or nose tackle in the Bears' base 3-4 defense, but they drafted Khyiris Tonga in the seventh round and the BYU nose tackle has been a pleasant surprise in scrimmage and in games. He's been more active than would be expected of many rookie nose tackles.
"I think the thing that helps him is he's familiar with the defense," Bears defensive line coach Chris Rumph said of Tonga. "He played it some in college. I'm just happy for him because when we had the shorts on, those kinda practices are not him. So I was anticipating just watching him once we put the pads on, and I can say I'm really happy and pleased with where he is right now and his growth."
This doesn't necessarily mean Tonga has made the roster for the opener because the Bears could always find another veteran on the open market for little money when roster cuts come.
Still, Tonga is young and the type of player the Bears have always liked to have in the fifth or sixth slot on the defensive line.
"He's a hard worker," Bears defensive end Bilal Nichols said. "Tonga is everything I love about a player. He's tough, he's physical. He wants to learn, he's eager to learn.
"When you've got guys like that, it's easy for you to just take them under your wing. He reminds me a lot of myself when I was a rookie."
Pennel had been with the Chiefs last year and Lucas two years ago.
The final cuts come after the final preseason game and the roster must be trimmed to 53 from 80.