Bears officially place OL Daniels on IR, promote Sam Mustipher
The Bears officially placed left guard James Daniels on injured reserve with a pectoral injury Wednesday. In a subsequent move, they elevated offensive lineman Sam Mustipher from the practice squad to the active roster.
Daniels suffered the injury last week in the Bears' win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-19, on Thursday Night Football. Lineman Alex Bars slid into Daniels' starting spot at left guard for most of the second half.
Daniels also served as the backup center, should starting center Cody Whitehair go down with an injury. In Mustipher, 24, the Bears have a lineman with center experience at Notre Dame in college.
Mustipher spent the entire 2019 season on the Bears' practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2019.
Losing Daniels is a significant setback for the Bears offensive line. A stint on IR means Daniels will be out at least three weeks, but the expectation according to multiple reports is that Daniels will be out for the remainder of the 2020 season.
The third-year pro has never missed a game since being selected 39th overall in the 2018 draft. He had hardly ever missed an offensive snap since becoming a starter midway through the 2018 season.
"It's heartbreaking," Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo said. "I could see it in his eyes. It's sad because this is a young man who's been working hard, playing better. You saw in that Atlanta game, that last play, that's what he's all about. He's got a big heart, hard worker, everybody likes him in the room. It hurts to see something like that happen.
"The positive thing is he's going to get back at full strength. He's 23 years old, so he has a great future ahead of him. Those are things you have to look at when you have a setback like that, look at the positive things. That's what we're trying to do with him and talking to him."
Offensive line coach Juan Castillo isolating:
Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo will be working remotely from home this week after a close contact of his tested positive for COVID-19.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Castillo self-reported the close contact. Nagy said it is unrelated to the situation with practice squad offensive lineman Badara Traore, who was placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list this week.
Castillo will not travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, this week, where the Bears will play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Castillo will not be at practice this week. He is participating in team meetings virtually from home.
"What's unique and interesting everyday for me and these players is balancing real life world with practice and with all the stuff we were used to," Nagy said.