Somehow, despite every indication otherwise, Willie Young survived the Bears’ final cuts this preseason, winning a spot on the 53-man roster.
Now, however, the Bears are letting off new indications that the Turk may still be summoned.
On Sunday, Young was declared inactive for Chicago’s game against the Seahawks. He was a healthy scratch, as the veteran outside linebacker practiced all week and wasn’t listed on the injury report.
Young, a sixth-year pro, has been around long to know when something smells fishy. And his current situation reeks of old, rotten salmon. The media, getting a whiff of their own, received a question to their question about why he was relegated to street clothes for a big road contest in which the Bears were blanked, 26-0.
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” Young said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “Didn’t you see me practicing all week?”
Young was not forthcoming when pressed further, though, giving a few boringly canned responses — the decision to make him inactive was “out of his control” and he’ll “play when called upon.”
But it seemed to bother him.
“Any time your guys go to battle you want to be out there and bring it,” he said. “And contribute as much as you can, whenever you can, you know?”
All summer, the Bears, under a new coach and general manager, made it clear Young isn’t in their plans. Coming off an team-leading 9.5-sack campaign in 2014, he was a 4-3 defensive end forced to transition to 3-4 outside linebacker. The move, complete with a brand new set of responsibilities, can be very difficult for some. Young struggled with it, so, naturally, he was demoted to third-string in training camp — putting him squarely on the roster bubble — before finding his way to the trade block.
The Bears, obviously, found no takers.
Stuck with a square peg in a round hole, whom they owe $2.45 million this season, the Bears resorted to drastically cutting Young’s snaps. He played in only 34 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in the first two weeks. Then, apparently, it was decided that he wasn’t to see the field at all.
The writing isn’t just on the wall here; it’s emboldened in bright pink Sharpie. At this rate, it’s a matter of when — not if — the Bears finally put Young out of his misery, and the 30-year-old can hope his third NFL stop will be the charm.
(Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)