By now, the Chicago Bears are used to surprise changes in health that don’t benefit their team. But Thursday’s news comes from the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
The Bears have activated outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) off the Physically Unable to Perform List and will have him available for Thursday night’s road game against the Green Bay Packers, the team announced Thursday.
McPhee is still the biggest free-agent acquisition the Bears have made under general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox, signed before last season at five years and $38.75 million after he played his first four seasons as a rotational pass rusher with the Baltimore Ravens. In the first half last year, he made a case as the Bears’ best all-around defender and logged 53 tackles, 6 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games with 12 starts.
The 6-foot-2, 274-pound pass rusher’s knee started to give him problems down the stretch of the year, and he has not played since. But the Bears activated him Thursday, hoping he can provide a boost to a 1-5 team that listed 13 players on its most recent injury report.
It’s unclear what the 27-year-old pass rusher can offer, if anything, against the Packers on Thursday night, but the Bears would gladly take any help. They placed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on injured reserve with a torn ACL and have missed first-round rookie Leonard Floyd at the position the past two weeks as he’s sat out with a calf ailment.
McPhee was instrumental in helping the Bears pull off a 17-13 upset over the Packers in last year’s trip to Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving Night. Afterward, the emotional McPhee was more than fired up.
“We went in there and slapped him on his ass,” McPhee said then. “They need to go ask him how that feels.”