If there were times over the last tumultuous month for Bears offensive lineman Teven Jenkins when you wondered whether he’d still be on the team at this point, you weren’t alone.
Jenkins did, too. Often. In fact, he was still wondering it after making the roster Tuesday even as he is presumed to be the team’s starting right guard.
“I still say it’s up in air,” Jenkins said of his status with the Bears. “Nothing’s solidified right now. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be here tomorrow.
“There were many times I was wondering [about his future]. I was even wondering that today. I wasn’t sure about my future at all.”
Jenkins has been in jeopardy seemingly since the day general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus walked into Halas Hall.
Ryan Pace drafted him in the second round last year to be the franchise’s left tackle for the next decade, but the new staff quickly shifted him to right tackle and eventually — amid widespread speculation that he’d be traded or cut — gave him a shot at right guard.
Jenkins was ambivalent about the move. It was undoubtedly his fastest route to playing, but it’s not necessarily what he envisioned.
“I still think of myself as a tackle that can go down and play guard,” he said. “As of right now, is it be better for my career to be a guard? Yeah, probably. So that means I’m all for it right now. I also label myself as a tackle.”
The entire ordeal early in training camp lingers. He missed seven practices with an unspecified injury, trade rumors abounded and he bristled at what he said was an unfounded assertion that he had friction with coaches. He hasn’t buried it yet.
“I need to do that, [but] it’s really hard,” Jenkins said. “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it right now and trying to get past what happened and trying to look forward to the season.”
Rookie Braxton Jones, a fifth-round pick from Southern Utah, took hold of the starting left tackle job over the offseason and never slipped. Larry Borom, a fifth-rounder who came in with Jenkins, is the starting right tackle.
The Bears closed the preseason with Jenkins at right guard while Sam Mustipher played center. When they started camp, Mustipher was at right guard. The team anticipates center Lucas Patrick coming back from a broken thumb before the Sept. 11 opener, which would then force a choice between Jenkins and Mustipher.