Speaking to reporters Monday, Bears tight end Trey Burton provided details about the groin injury that prevented him from playing in Sunday’s 16-15 wild-card loss to the Eagles.
Burton said that he first felt a little stiffness Friday morning, but he thought it was just general soreness and practiced without restrictions before heading home. The stiffness got worse Friday night, and then when he woke up Saturday morning his groin was “completely locked.”
“I thought I’d be able to push through at practice,” Burton said. “There was nothing really alarming. After practice I felt pretty good. I went home. My history of my body, that’s what my body does. It locks up whenever it feels any threat, and that’s kind of what happened to me.
“I had a tough time walking, a tough time really doing anything. Tried to do everything we could Saturday, Saturday night, really all day, and then Sunday morning. But it wouldn’t loosen up and let go. So I wasn’t able to play.”
Burton said that his body has locked up throughout his NFL career, most notably when he had a lower back injury.
“My body does that to me,” Burton said. “Over time, if you look at the history of my injuries, whenever it feels like it’s threatened or something could possibly happen that’s serious, my body locks up. That’s what has happened to me my whole career.”
Given the importance of Sunday’s game, Burton was devastated that he couldn’t play.
“I let my team down,” he said. “I hate it, especially going against one of my former teams, playoff game, all the implications. It was definitely tough. It was extremely frustrating, I’m not going to lie to you.”
Burton signed with the Bears in March after spending his first four NFL seasons primarily as a third-string tight end with the Eagles. Last year he threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles in a 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Burton started all 16 games in his first season with the Bears, establishing career highs in all receiving categories with 54 receptions, 569 yards and six touchdowns.
The decision to sit Burton was made shortly before inactive lists were due 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
“It’s tough,” Burton said. “I have to look [coach Matt Nagy] in his eye and tell him I can’t go. That’s the last thing you want to do, especially against my former team. If there was ever one game I would want to play in, it would be that one. It definitely is not easy. I mean he understood and he was there for me, but it’s not fun.”
With Burton out, Bears tight ends Adam Shaheen (3 receptions for 13 yards) and Ben Braunecker (2-15) combined for five catches for 28 yards.