Lucas Patrick

Where Lucas Patrick stands in Bears offensive line room

Patrick was signed to be the team's starting center, but the team's plans have changed

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When the Bears signed Lucas Patrick to a two-year, $8 million deal, the idea was he would come in and anchor the offensive line at center. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge contract, but it was one of Ryan Poles’ biggest signings in an offseason that was focused more on tearing down the roster so that the team could build it back up this year. 

The Bears never got a real chance to see how the Patrick signing would play out, though. In the early stages of training camp, Patrick broke his thumb. He needed a cast, so he couldn’t snap. The Bears tried to salvage the situation by having him play guard with a club.

“That's hard in this league,” said offensive line coach Chris Morgan. “It's hard enough to play, period.”

The club-handed guard experiment did not work for Patrick and he struggled. Finally, the cast came off in Week 7 and Patrick was ready to snap the ball again. Patrick’s tenure at center only lasted 10 snaps, however. He suffered a toe injury in his return to his natural position and ultimately missed the rest of the season.

It was about as disastrous of a season as one can imagine, but Morgan was impressed by Patrick’s professionalism throughout.

“He showed us through it all who he is. We know who he is: tough, smart, again another great teammate willing to do whatever.”

Despite the professionalism, the dismal year forced the Bears to come up with a new plan. The team shook things up and decided to move Cody Whitehair to center, moved Teven Jenkins into the vacated left guard spot, and slid new free agent signee Nate Davis in at right guard. Patrick has mixed in for some reps with the first team at center at right guard when Davis still hadn’t reported to camp, but for now he’s left without a seat at the table.

“Cody's there as the starter right now and Lucas is working in there because of experience,” said Matt Eberflus after the first day of veteran minicamp.

That experience is important though, because there’s a good chance Patrick’s number will be called at some point during the year. If there’s one thing every NFL team can count on every year, it’s that the injury bug will bite. That’s especially true on the offensive line.

“We're going to need everybody,” Eberflus said. “At some point somebody is going to step in there and be a starter and we're fortunate to have Lucas who has started in that position.”

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