LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Bears offensive tackle Teven Jenkins has something to prove in his second NFL season, and he's ready to begin anew.
A year ago in the spring, Jenkins began experiencing back pain during the offseason program. He arrived at training camp still dealing with the lingering soreness, he wasn’t responding to treatment and he eventually required surgery in August. A second-round pick of the Bears, Jenkins played in just six games during a disappointing rookie season.
Jenkins' back issues are now a matter of the past, he said. He has been taking snap during OTAs without even thinking about it. All that’s on Jenkins’ mind now is showing the Bears’ new regime that he belongs.
“It’s about earning trust and earning their belief that I deserve to be on this team still,” Jenkins said. “I’m working for that trust.”
Jenkins began the offseason by focusing on transforming his body. He dropped 20 pounds to get to a more athletic 325 pounds and dropped his body fat from 33% to 24%. Jenkins has cut out carbohydrates from dinner and lessened his alcohol intake, he said. He started Pilates as well, which has allowed him to strengthen his core and feel fresh.
“I’m trying to elevate everything about myself, mentally and physically,” Jenkins said.
The Bears have shifted Jenkins to right tackle this offseason, moving him back to the position that he primarily played in college at Oklahoma State. It represents a switch with fellow second-year tackle Larry Borom, who moved over to left tackle.
While the Bears’ coaching staff has maintained that it’s a long way from defining starting jobs, Jenkins seems in line to take over as the new right tackle moving forward with Borom slotted on the left side.
“They're getting better every day,” Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan said of the two tackles. “That's the biggest thing right now.
“We're learning techniques. We're learning scheme. We're trying to see the big picture of everything and how it fits together.”
During his first NFL Draft as the Bears’ new general manager, Ryan Poles selected four offensive linemen. That included fifth-round pick Braxton Jenkins, who could compete with Jenkins and Borom at tackle.
Jenkins recognizes he's no longer working under a front office that drafted him, but he does seem to fit well in Chicago’s new zone running scheme that requires tackles to be more athletic and play out on the edge.
Jenkins has the type of nasty edge the Bears covet on their offensive line. He’s now healthy, rejuvenated and ready to prove it.
“But I don’t like to talk about it,” Jenkins said. “I like to do it instead. A lot of things to be done instead of spoken for. That’s what it is.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.