N’Keal Harry’s restart in the NFL took months longer than originally planned because of an ankle injury, but it fittingly could come this week against his former team.
The Chicago Bears wide receiver practiced in full all week leading up to Monday night’s game in Foxborough, Mass., against the New England Patriots, the team that drafted Harry in the first round in 2019.
Harry was cleared to play in Week 6 against the Washington Commanders, but without a full week of practice, the Bears held him out. Coach Matt Eberflus wouldn’t say Saturday whether Harry will get an opportunity against the Patriots, but Harry said he’s comfortable in the offense and ready to go physically if the Bears want him to play.
“I’m trying not to get too caught up in it being the Patriots and it being my former team,” Harry said. “I’m obviously excited, excited to see some of my guys.”
After Harry totaled 57 catches for 598 yards and four touchdowns over three seasons with the Patriots, they traded him to the Bears this summer for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick. Harry didn’t want to delve too much into what went wrong in New England.
“It could be a lot of different things that led into it,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m not worried about any of that. I’m worried about right now, going forward and helping this team win.”
Harry was in competition to be a major contributor for the Bears before he suffered a left ankle injury in an Aug. 6 training camp practice and then underwent surgery. He said he had “no choice” but to be patient as he rehabbed, but he finally got a chance to get some good reps with quarterback Justin Fields this week.
“Over this past week, it has been good, getting out there, getting the reps, seeing the type of throws he likes to make, seeing the type of footballs I like to catch,” Harry said.
Bears coaches said they are excited to see what they can get from one of their biggest wide receiver options at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.
“There’s a little bit of the unknown, right? Because he just hasn’t been out there yet,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. “He’s getting better. He’s a smart player. In training camp he started giving us the flexibility of being able to put him in a bunch of different positions. Big, strong guy that we can use in a bunch of different ways. So I’m excited to see where he can go.”
It’s unclear how much of a role Harry would have in his first game if he is active Monday. But he thinks he can be helpful as he gets more comfortable in the offense.
“I just feel like I bring a big presence, a physicality,” Harry said. “I can help with the run game. I can help with the downfield threat. I’m just excited to do my role and do my part.”