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Frayed Nerves at Halas Hall Over Latest COVID-19 Case

Players are trying to cope with the emotional roller coaster after COVID-19 struck offensive leader Cody Whitehair and wiped out Thursday's practice

The Bears will have starting right guard Germain Ifedi available to block Sunday after he was removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, and their line can use the relief after all the injuries.

The entire team can use a little relief, in fact.

It's been nothing but an emotional roller coaster since the announcement early in the week about Ifedi and lineman Jason Spriggs going on Reserve/COVID-19, then the cancellation of practice Thursday due to a positive test by center Cody Whitehair and finally a return Friday to practice.

"It's certainly been different, that's for sure," tight end Jimmy Graham said. "But it's almost a new normal of there never being a normal week.

"It's kind of been like that since the beginning of this offseason, since the beginning of training camp. Week by week you just never know where you're going to get thrown, and whoever can adapt and whoever can limit some of this exposure is going to have an opportunity of getting into the playoffs."

The Bears were sent home Thursday before practice, had group meetings via Zoom which they would have done anyway because the team was already on an elevated status of the league's COVID-19 protocol. Then they awaited word on further tests of players.

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It all led to frayed nerves, especially because it was Whitehair who had a positive test.

"Personally speaking for myself and people that I talked to, yeah, people kind of begin to get nervous," safety Tashaun Gipson said. "There's another person. You know a leader on the team, a guy who a lot of people have interaction with in Cody.

"So, you know, naturally a lot of people kind of were on the fence. But again I think that's just a testament, you know, how Cody was. He had on the mask, he made sure that he had everything going on to make sure that he protected himself even though I don't think he knew he had it. But he's a pro's pro. So when I say wear your mask and do the things that's necessary to keep the team safe he's a guy who'll do it."

Khalil Mack credited Matt Nagy's leadership as being a key to getting the team through the uncertainty.

"The same thing I’ve been on: Nagy is a hell of a guy," Mack said. "He understands the responsibility that we all have to keep each other safe and we have to keep our families safe as well."