Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
With the Bears having to replace Cordarrelle Patterson, who are some players on their roster who have returned kickoffs in the NFL?
Three Bears players have served as their team's primary kickoff returner, coincidentally all for one season apiece early in their careers. Running back Tarik Cohen averaged 22.4 yards on 26 returns as a Bears rookie in 2017. Recently-signed receiver Marquise Goodwin averaged 21.9 yards on 16 returns as a Buffalo Bills rookie in 2013. And new Bears running back Damien Williams averaged 21.8 yards on 21 returns in his second NFL season with the Miami Dolphins in 2015. Receiver Anthony Miller has returned one kickoff for the Bears each of the past two seasons after returning six during his college career at Memphis. And receiver Darnell Mooney had one return last season as a Bears rookie after having one return at Tulane. Bears running back Artavis Pierce also has experience, having averaged 20.0 yards on 27 returns during his sophomore season at Oregon State in 2017.
With the NFL now allowing more players to wear single digits, I was wondering how many of those numbers are available on the Bears?
The only single-digit numbers currently available with the Bears are Nos. 1, 4, 6 and 8. Nos. 3, 5 and 7 have been retired to honor Hall of Famers Bronko Nagurski, George McAfee and George Halas, respectively, while Nos. 2 and 9 belong to kicker Cairo Santos and quarterback Nick Foles, respectively. The new rule that was approved by NFL owners Wednesday will allow running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs to wear Nos. 1-9. We'll have to wait and see whether any of the Bears players make a switch. Two possibilities who come to my mind are receiver Allen Robinson II, who tweeted "Uno Me" earlier this month in response to the proposed rule change; and safety Eddie Jackson, who wore No. 4 at Alabama.
I understand that one of the rules passed by NFL owners this week was one that the Bears proposed. Which one was it, and what was the reason for it?
Yes, the Bears submitted a proposal that was approved by NFL owners that will "ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successful Try attempts." It seemingly came as a result of what transpired in 2019 during a late win in Denver. After the Broncos scored a touchdown to cut their deficit to 13-12 with :32 remaining, Denver lined up for a two-point conversion. But after the Broncos were penalized for delay of game, they opted to attempt a game-tying extra point. Brandon McManus missed the kick wide right, but Buster Skrine was penalized for being offside. The ball was then moved to the 1 and Denver converted the two-point conversion to take a 14-13 lead. The Bears rallied for a thrilling 16-14 win on Eddy Piñeiro's 53-yard field goal as time expired, but the sequence involving the Broncos' two-point conversion created a lot of confusion. After a touchdown, teams can attempt a two-point conversion from the 2 or an extra point from the 15. Under the rule that existed at the time, a penalty could be enforced from only one of those spots. So after the Broncos were penalized five yards for delay of game, they could have attempted the two-point conversion from the 7 or the extra point from the 20. When they chose the 20 and there was a penalty on the Bears, the foul would be enforced from the 20 or the 2. Denver chose the 2 and the ball was moved half the distance to the goal line to the 1. So it was like the Broncos' delay of game penalty never occurred—something that will no longer be the case with the new rule that was approved this week.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.