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How is Bears’ injury research going?

Posted Feb 1, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses what the Bears are doing to reduce injuries, the last time a Bears player led the Pro Bowl in rushing and how Senior Bowl MVPs have fared in the NFL.



Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I know that general manager Ryan Pace would address the Bears’ injury situation in terms of researching why they lost so many key players this past season. What’s the latest with that?

Randy H.
Vicksburg, Michigan

Ryan Pace said last week at the Senior Bowl that the Bears were having “ongoing discussions” about ways to reduce injuries moving forward. Pace said that the Bears had meetings the week before the Senior Bowl and “we kind of locked ourselves in a room and went over every different scenario and I think we’ll make some tweaks and adjustments as we go along the way, not just change just to change but things that we find factually are going to make a difference.” Pace revealed that the Bears are studying other NFL teams that have been the most healthy the past three or four years and they may adopt some of the things those teams do. Pace told reporters that coach John Fox, trainer Nate Breske, sports science coordinator/dietitian Jenn Gibson and strength and conditioning coach Jason George are all involved in the process.

I was looking at the Pro Bowl box score and noticed that Jordan Howard was the game’s leading rusher with 21 yards. Who was the last Bears player to lead the Pro Bowl in rushing?


Dave G.
Boulder, Colorado

Jordan Howard became the first Bears running back to lead the Pro Bowl in rushing since Neal Anderson accomplished the feat on Jan. 29, 1989 when he rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries to help the NFC crush the AFC 34-3. It was the first of four Pro Bowl appearances for Anderson, who played eight seasons with the Bears from 1986-93 and ranks third on their all-time rushing list with 6,166 yards behind Walter Payton (16,726) and Matt Forte (8,602).

How have Senior Bowl MVPs fared in the NFL in recent years?

Peter B.
Elkhart, Indiana

Generally speaking, winning the Senior Bowl MVP award has not necessarily led to future NFL success. The three exceptions over the past 10 years have been Bears running back Matt Forte in 2008, Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford in 2014 and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in 2016. Forte ranks second on the Bears’ all-time rushing list behind Hall of Famer Walter Payton, Ford had a breakout 2016 season with a career-high 10 sacks and Prescott had a remarkable 2016 rookie season after being selected by Dallas in the fourth round of the draft. The other Senior Bowl MVPs during that span were running back Tony Hunt (2007), quarterback Pat White (2009), defensive lineman Brandon Graham (2010), quarterback Christian Ponder (2011), running back Isaiah Pead (2012), quarterback E.J. Manuel (2013) and running back Ameer Abdullah (2015). Quarterback Davis Webb won this year’s Senior Bowl MVP award.

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