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Chalk Talk: Why didn't Ridley play before last week?

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

I was happy to see Riley Ridley get his first chance to play this season against the Titans and thought he did well. But I'd like to know what took him so long to get an opportunity to get on the field.
Bruce P.
London, Ontario, Canada

I asked receivers coach Mike Furrey that same question Monday and he said that there were two factors that kept second-year pro Riley Ridley off the field until the ninth game of the season. First, the Bears possess quality depth at the position with top receivers Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller all performing well this year. Second, Ridley doesn't contribute on special teams as much as fourth receiver Javon Wims. Said Furrey: "The depth of our room was No. 1, and the second [thing] was just his limited play on special teams hurts when you start counting numbers." So after Wims was suspended for two games by the NFL for punching a Saints player, Ridley made the most of his opportunity to play against the Titans, catching two passes for 23 yards, including an 18-yarder on third-and-16. Furrey insisted that he's never lost faith in Ridley, saying: "I had all the confidence in the world [Sunday] that he would step in there and make plays, and I've got all the confidence in the world that he'll get better and better for next week."

I've been impressed with how Mario Edwards Jr. has performed in spot duty this season for the Bears. I don't know much about him and was wondering if you could shed some light on his background and where he's played before.
Lynn W.
Schaumburg, Illinois

Yes, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. has been an excellent addition and has taken advantage of expanded playing time that has resulted from injuries to his teammates. He signed with the Bears Sept. 8, the week leading into the season opener, a few days after being released by the Saints. Edwards entered the NFL in 2015 as a second-round draft pick with the Raiders, where he spent his first three seasons playing on a defense that featured star outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Edwards was limited to two games in 2016 due to a hip injury, but he returned to start all 14 contests he played for the Raiders in 2017. He then moved to the Giants in 2018 and the Saints in 2019.

Did the two players who were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after the Bears arrived in Tennessee fly home with the team?
Paul G.
Griffith, Indiana

No, they did not. After being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after the Bears landed in Nashville, safety Deon Bush and rookie offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons were both sent home in separate cars, with a partition between them and their drivers.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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