The Chicago Bears did a lot of work to fortify the ranks around third-year quarterback Justin Fields this offseason adding to the protection in front of him and the weapons around him. On the latter front, adding D.J. Moore to last year’s group should do wonders in terms of providing Fields with a proven top option on the outside.
Darnell Mooney Updates Status Before Teammate Shares Sobering Experience
It should also help the other receivers since they will be in more appropriate roles for their respective skill sets, including the incumbent top option, Darnell Mooney.
“I am running,” Mooney told teammate Equanieous St. Brown on ‘The 33rd Team’ podcast on May 18. “I’m cutting. I started cutting today. So, naw, I’ll be 100%. I got screws in my foot so I’ll be a little robotic. Probably 1000 times better than I was.”
— NFL (@NFL) October 9, 2022
One year after his first 1000-yard campaign, Mooney made 12 starts last season.
The third-year wideout suffered a broken leg cutting in Week 12 against the New York Jets, finishing an already-trying season with 493 yards and two touchdowns on 40 receptions.
Equanimeous St. Brown Shares Experience with TightRope Surgery
Mooney confirmed that he broke his fibula for St. Brown’s co-host, brother, and Detroit Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown before confirming for his teammate that he had what is known as “TightRope” surgery, a procedure that uses cord instead of screws to aid in the healing process, according to the Southern California Orthopedic Institute:
The TightRope system anchors the ends of the tibia and fibula together with a braided polyethylene cord, rather than with a rigid surgical screw, to restore the original position of the bones and to allow for proper healing.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a similar procedure performed in 2018.
Though, in his respective instance, he (and teammate Jalen Hurts, now of the Philadelphia Eagles) was able to return in four weeks while at the University of Alabama.
“I had that too. My ankle doesn’t move no more,” Equanimeous St. Brown said. “That s*** is steady. … I didn’t break it. But I had TightRope my second year in the NFL…That s***’s locked. It’s locked. It’s locked in place. It’s not moving.”
Mooney – a former fifth-round pick in 2020 – said that his doctors warned him of something similar but said that he felt “good” about where things stand. His recovery does take on added significance going into a contract season with a regime that did not draft him and has already gone about upgrading the position around him.
“They want to see me run and stuff so we’ll see,” he said. “I’m in no rush.”
Darnell Mooney on D.J. Moore: ‘Great Fit’
“He’s gonna fit good,” Mooney said. “Good guy, good dude for sure. Seems to be working hard. Seems to be honing into what we got, our culture, or whatnot. So, yeah…great fit, for sure.”
Sundays are gonna be fun 😏 pic.twitter.com/i9dH4gvu8e
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 7, 2023
Moore – the No. 24 overall pick in 2018 – arrives with three 1000-yard seasons under his belt and two more in which he fell fewer than 250 yards shy. Even in a “down season” for his yardage, he produced seven receiving scores and took 10 handoffs for 53 years in 2022.
That could put a little extra pressure on Mooney to produce but he sounds ready regardless.
“Do whatever I can do for my team,” Mooney said of his expectations for this season. “Ball out. Dominate. I’m not really on the ‘respect my name’ anymore. I’m just disrespecting everybody now. Don’t really care about respect no more. Other than that, I just want to win. I don’t really care about anything else.”