CHICAGO — Trey Burton’s disappointing 2019 season probably ended Saturday when the Bears put the veteran tight end on injured reserve.
Burton has been limited by a groin problem all season, and he suffered a calf injury Sunday against the Lions. He has only 84 receiving yards and no touchdowns, which has amounted to a huge void in the NFL’s 29th-ranked offense.
Burton hasn’t been effective since he suddenly and inexplicably experienced groin pain the day before the Bears’ wild-card round game in January against the Eagles, his former team. Burton’s surprise absence hindered the offense in that 16-15 loss.
Burton had groin surgery but not until May. The Bears tried to manage his workload in training camp, but he never returned to full fitness. Burton admittedly was less than 100% all season, and his lack of production in the passing game reflected that.
A player on injured reserve is off the active roster for a minimum of eight weeks, and only seven games remain. The earliest Burton would be eligible to return is the divisional round of the playoffs. The Bears, at 4-5, are three games behind the Vikings for the final NFC wild-card spot.
Burton is guaranteed $4 million next season as part of the four-year, $32 million contract to which the Bears signed him in March 2018.
In putting Burton on IR, the Bears promoted outside linebacker James Vaughters from the practice squad instead of tight ends Jesper Horsted or Dax Raymond. That leaves the Bears will three healthy tight ends on the roster for Sunday night’s road game against the Rams: Ben Braunecker, J.P. Holtz and Bradley Sowell.
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