Ryan Poles, Bears 'proud' of how Teven Jenkins has earned his place in their plans

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- In late July, the Bears were wondering what second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins' future held with them. He has since found his fit.

Jenkins, 24, is in line to start for the Bears at right guard following a difficult training camp that featured an injury setback, trade rumors and concern regarding his place with the team. It all led Bears general manager Ryan Poles to meet with Jenkins recently.

“I told him how proud I was of him,” Poles said.

A second-round pick of the Bears' previous regime, Jenkins underwent back surgery in August 2021 and missed the majority of his rookie season. He returned in early December, playing the final six games at left tackle.

Jenkins missed the first week of this training camp while dealing with an undisclosed injury. In that time, the Bears took phone calls from teams inquiring about trading for Jenkins, NFL Media reported.

When Jenkins returned to practice on Aug. 6, he initially worked at tackle with the Bears’ reserve offensive line. Ten days later, he was moved to starting right guard with the first-team offense. Jenkins has held down that starting spot since, with the Bears releasing veteran Michael Schofield on Tuesday in a move that showcased their confidence in Jenkins.

Despite Jenkins working for more than two weeks as the Bears’ starting right guard, NFL Media reported once again earlier this week that he could still be traded. Poles dismissed that notion, saying he feels Chicago has a better offensive line with Jenkins at right guard.

“It’s just a testament to the kid, his resiliency, his work ethic,” Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham added. “Couldn’t be more proud of him.”

While sharing their belief in Jenkins, the Bears have also taken a chance on former Raiders offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. A first-round pick of Las Vegas in 2021, Leatherwood fell out of favor with the Raiders’ new regime and was waived this week after an unsuccessful attempt to trade him. The Bears were the only team to place a claim on Leatherwood, NFL Media reported.

Perhaps Leatherwood's fate was an indication of how Jenkins would’ve fared on the trade market. Even so, the Bears have pressed forward with high hopes for Jenkins. They’re thrilled with how he responded and earned a place in their plans.

“It's about building the best five,” Poles said. “I think we have a good five with him at guard.”

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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