Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen tries another comeback with Jets, nearly four years after last game with Bears

The former Bears running back and punt returner hasn't played since 2020

NBC Universal, Inc.

Former Bears running back Tarik Cohen is giving it another go. On Wednesday the Jets announced that they signed Cohen to a deal.

“Explosive playmaker,” said Jets head coach Robert Saleh. “He’s starting to get back healthy.”

Cohen hasn’t played since he tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season. He’s tried to mount several comebacks before, but has faced numerous obstacles and additional injuries along the way.

The Bears cut Cohen in March 2022. A few months later he popped his Achilles tendon while working out on Instagram live. Many thought that injury would be the end of Cohen’s career, but Cohen was medically cleared to play in 2023 and joined the Panthers practice squad in September.

Cohen never played in a game for the Panthers, and the team cut him earlier this month.

The Jets seem interested in Cohen’s prowess as a return specialist given the league’s new rules that are designed to incentivize returns while keeping players safe.

“They’re gonna touch the ball over 100 times per year, which is significant– at least that’s what we’re anticipating,” Saleh said. “A guy like him, he’s still young, obviously coming off his injuries, but we’re excited to have him aboard.”

The Bears selected Cohen in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. In 51 career games, Cohen carried the ball 264 times for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns. Cohen was arguably more effective as a receiver out of the backfield, whether it was on quick curls and angle routes, or deeper wheel routes. He caught 209 balls for 1,575 yards and nine scores.

It’s no surprise that the Jets see Cohen as a dynamic returner, too, since he was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowl punt returner after the 2018 season. Over his career, Cohen returned 96 punts for 985 yards and one touchdown

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us