The return shuffle could continue for the Bears this week against Tampa Bay even after they found someone special teams coordinator Chris Tabor can trust with the job .
Jakeem Grant does some wild things on returns but he produces results. An ankle injury he suffered in his second game with the Bears might force another plan of attack this week on special teams against Tampa Bay.
"He showed a lot of toughness," Tabor said. "He battled through that, obviously."
Grant came back after his injury and tried to keep playing but eventually the Bears used Artavis Pierce for his first career kick return, a 27-yarder.
Grant already had been limited in practice last week before the Packers game with a groin injury. Then he suffered the ankle injury on a return called back due to an illegal block by Marqui Christian.
"Got tackled low and hurt himself," Tabor said. "Kinda coming back, he did everything he could. I really respect him for doing that."
Grant hasn't practiced this week after averaging an outstanding 25.3 yards for six kick returns and 12.2 yards for four punt returns in two games.
Nsimba Webster initially returned kicks and punts for the Bears this season, was cut and then picked back up for the practice squad. He could move up to the 53-man roster if Grant can't play.
"(Webster is) just like any practice squad player, just like any player, period, just getting better and working at his craft," Tabor said. "I just said it again today in a meeting: whenever you have to get called up, when it's your time, we expect you to perform and go. You have to always be ready."
There are also several return men out on the open market, and the Bucs just put one there when they released return man Jaydon Mickens and made Jaelon Darden their returner.
Regardless, it appears Grant has a home making returns when healthy. He is unconventional and takes risks, as the punt he returned from the 2-yard line to the 19 against the Raiders indicated. Obviously it should have been allowed to go into the end zone.
Against the Packers, Grant seemed ready to make a fair catch and was surrounded by Packers at the 9-yard line but never signaled and then broke the return for 11 yards.
"I think they assumed it," Tabor said. "I think it was something where he took a chance. I think it was a good play.
"Obviously it turned out for us so you can say it was a good play. And I thought it was good hidden yardage."
The Bears wound up starting the drive at their 20 instead of inside the 10.
"It shows that he's fearless, it shows that he's a risk taker," Tabor said. "Those are qualities that we like in our returners. Obviously, he has big play ability, and I'm glad that he did what he did."