Why Eddie Goldman's injury is especially concerning originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
There’s a good chance the Bears may be without one of the most impactful players on their defense, again. After Week 1, then missing practice on Thursday and Friday with a knee injury, Eddie Goldman is officially “doubtful” to play in Week 2.
“There’s still a chance but it’s probably slim,” Matt Nagy said. “He’s literally going to be a day-to-day guy. You might have a good day one day and he might have a bad day the next day. That’s kinda where he’s at… It’s just a feel more than anything. Again, it’s one of those ones where it is going to be for us day-to-day. With the time that we’re at right now, we put him at this status. Who knows how the next couple days go? But right now it would not be arrow up, in regards to where he’s at.”
That’s a big difference from just Thursday when Nagy described Goldman’s health as “arrow up” and said he felt good about him.
Goldman’s status has been one of the more closely monitored situations this year, and following it was a roller coaster ride all summer. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and the assumption was that he’d be back this year. But Goldman didn’t report for OTAs. No alarms were raised, since it was voluntary. But just a few weeks later, Goldman no-showed at mandatory minicamp, and the team clarified that it was an unexcused absence. Then, when Goldman finally did return for training camp, he was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list, and missed 10 days of practice. The most concerning thing throughout all of this however, was that it seemed no one could get a hold of him. Nagy even admitted that the team wasn’t sure whether or not Goldman would report to camp until he actually showed up.
“You ain’t getting in touch with him,” Nagy said early in August. “You think I’m kidding. I’m not.”
Zooming back out to the bigger picture, when he’s on the field, Goldman is one of the most important players on defense for the Bears. He soaks up blocks on the offensive line, clogs opposing rushing lanes, can pressure the pocket from the interior and generally makes everyone else’s job easier.
“You got a nose that can take on double teams, that’s a thousand pounds and make it look easy and shed blocks and make it hard for those running backs to get out of the backfield,” Khalil Mack said of Goldman at the start of training camp. “It’s hell for those guards and those centers. Just understanding his strengths, he brings all the intangibles as well, not only stopping the run but he can pass rush as well. Just having a guy like that back is huge.”
But Goldman hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 2019, and his extended absence becomes more concerning each week.
In terms of when Goldman might return, Nagy’s quote on Goldman’s availability may sound familiar.
“Every day it’s getting a little bit better. It’s not going the other way. So we’ve just gotta be smart. And when it is time, ‘Dre’s gonna come to me and say, ‘Hey, he’s practicing today.’ Or, ‘He’s going out and he’s doing individual, and then he’s gonna do 5-10 reps here,’ and we’ll slowly get him in. And then we’ve gotta see how he’s feeling. The sooner the better for sure. I just can’t predict injuries.”
That was Nagy on Teven Jenkins on Aug. 3.
“I think right now it would probably be the same as where he was. We’re still working through it. I think our doctors and ‘Dre have a pretty good plan in place for just trying to get him to get out here. So I wouldn’t say there’s much change from a week ago from what I said, but obviously every day that goes by, we know it matters, so we gotta continue to work through that.”
None of this is to say that Goldman and Jenkins are on the same trajectory. They’re different people, with different injuries. But the Bears’ confidence in a player’s return from injury has been misguided before, and until Goldman does play again any concerns about his availability are certainly valid.