Matt Nagy: Kyle Long Headed to IR for Fourth Straight Year
Bears coach Matt Nagy confirmed Monday morning on his WBBM-AM 780 coach's show that right guard Kyle Long will go on injured reserve for the fourth straight season.
"I think we want to credit him for battling through an injury and it is a tough loss but it's a part of the game," Nagy told WBBM.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted the move Sunday after it's been apparent for several games that Long has been slowed by a hip injury.
Long missed the Sept. 29 game with Minnesota due to the injury, then played despite the injury in London against the Raiders.
Nagy also said the Bears would have to play without defensive end Akiem Hicks for an indefinite period of time due to the arm/elbow injury he suffered in London but the hope is he'll return before the end of the season.
The most available option for the Bears at guard as a replacement would be Ted Larsen, but he suffered a knee injury in the Sept. 29 win over the Minnesota Vikings and didn't make the trip with the Bears to London for the Oct. 6 loss to Oakland.
His status will be updated this week.
The other options are playing Rashaad Coward at Long's guard spot or calling Notre Dame undrafted rookie Alex Bars up from the practice squad and starting him.
Coward is a tackle and would be starting at guard for the first time. He saw some time against Minnesota at guard when Long was out and Larsen suffered his knee injury.
It's possible the Bears would look to Bars. When camp started he was almost 10 months removed from an anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered at Notre Dame, but has now had sufficient time to heal.
The Bears apparently thought a great deal of Bars because a Chicago Tribune report said they paid him extra to stay on their practice squad when the New England Patriots wanted to sigh him to their 53-man roster.
Last year Long went on injured reserve with recall and was brought back to the 53-man roster for the regular-season finale and playoff game after a foot injury healed.
Whether they would do the same this time would depend on the severity of the injury, but it's possible they'll decide to move on and cut Long in the future. Players on IR who return must be on IR for eight weeks from the time they go on it to the time they return to play, six weeks to the time they return to practice. Each team can bring two players off IR later in the year, and they no longer have to be designated as eligible to return at the outset of the injury.
Long's contract was restructured in the offseason and the Bears are tied to him for only one more year. Cutting Long after this season would cost the Bears a cap hit of $1.5 million next season.
Last season Long missed eight games and the Bears averaged 4.6 yards rushing attempt when he played, but only 3.6 yards an attempt when he didn't play.