The Chicago Bears offensive line is going to look a lot different in 2022 than it did in previous years However, one kind of familiar face will be Teven Jenkins.
Jenkins, selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, played mostly right tackle in college but was moved to the left side during his rookie season. He was already trying to adjust to his new position when a back injury that required surgery sidelined him for all of training camp and a big chunk of the 2021 season.
However, it looks like this is all in the past.
"I have no thought about my back," Jenkins said in his latest interview. "I trust everything that goes into it, especially the Pilates part, making your core strong. As soon as you have your core strong, all that takes away from any back pain you might have. I'm not worried about the back at all."
Sitting out the first three months of his rookie season was not easy for him and he was very eager to prove that he belonged in the NFL.
"The urgency to come back and say that I need to be getting these reps, I need to show something that says I deserve to be where I'm at was very pressing to me," Jenkins said. "It was making sure my mental was good enough to push myself to be the best I could be out there."
Under first-year coach Matt Eberflus and new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, Jenkins has been lining up with the No. 1 offense at right tackle.
"It feels good," Jenkins said. "That's where I played mostly in college, so it is comfortable. It's nice, and I do look forward to keep on getting reps at right tackle."
After he was hired to be the GM of the Chicago Bears, Ryan Poles mentioned to Jenkins that he needed to lose some weight while still getting stronger. Jenkins listened and it look like it was a success.
"I'm down to 325. Last season I was up to 345," he said. "I believe at the end of last season I was 33 percent body fat. Now, I'm down to about 24. Slimming down is difficult, but you've got to be disciplined in yourself to make sure that you stay on the right diet and make sure your body does what it's supposed to do."
Jenkins lost weight mostly by changing his nutrition.
"There are a lot of things you have to cut out," he said. "At dinner, I try to cut out carbs. You know how hard it is to cut out mac 'n' cheese, rice—it's a perfect go-to when you're going with a meal. You've got to cut that out, so it's mostly protein and vegetables.
"And I've been trying to cut out some more alcohol out of my system. I'm trying to get more cleansed out, I guess. And also that does help with your body fat. Instead of drinking all that beer, all that fat just sits on you, so you burn it off."
One thing that is helping him is the number of calories he burns during practice.
"There is a big difference," he said. "It's a lot more faster pace, a lot more up tempo, getting around, setting edges, all that stuff. How that affects you is you've got to slim down a little bit more, get faster and speeding up in certain areas."