SAN DIEGO -- Major Wright’s freak left-finger injury likely won’t put a damper on his pad-popping debut Saturday, in the Bears 25-10 preseason-opening loss at San Diego.
A rookie, Wright dealt out seven tackles in limited action (approximately 25 snaps) against the Chargers before leaving the game with an injury to a finger on his left hand. Minutes after the game, Wright stood outside the locker room trying to figure out when he sustained the injury.
“I have no clue,” Wright said. “I was just playing with it. Then the trainers told me to chill.”
Asked whether he thought the injury was serious, Wright smiled and said, “I’ll be alright.”
Wright entered the contest Saturday on San Diego’s second offensive possession, 6:06 into the game. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers slipped a pass in Wright’s vicinity for a 22-yard gain to Buster Davis on the rookie’s third play in the Bears’ secondary. Two plays later, the Chargers scored the first touchdown of the game on a 28-yard pass to Legedu Nanee in between Bears defenders Chris Harris and Zack Bowman.
Harris explained the difficulty a rookie such as Wright could face in his first taste of live action, after spending the offseason and training camp participating in controlled 7 on 7 and team drills.
“The speed is a lot faster, you’ve got to make sure your angles are precise because in practice you can take an angle to the ball and just tap him on the side, not making any contact,” Harris said. “But here, when it’s full speed, all out, you’ve got to make sure your angles are great so you can get that ball carrier down.”
Wright did just that in making his first play in run support, when he scooped up Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews and slammed him hard to the ground after an 18-yard gain. The play immediately caught Harris’ attention.
“He made a heck of an open-field tackle. It was a great tackle. That’s a tough stop to make it. So that was a good sign to see,” Harris said. “For a rookie, he picks up on things fast. He did OK. He didn’t play terribly. I’m pretty sure everybody is nervous their first time out there. But he played through it, and actually did a decent job.”
Wright, meanwhile, seemed excited about his performance against the Chargers, flashing a wide smile when taking a second to reflect on it. Wright couldn’t think of anything -- at that moment -- when asked whether he noticed elements of his game that needed improvement.
“[It went] pretty good. I just went out and [gave it] my all and went hard on every play,” Wright said. “It felt pretty good to know that the preparation [paid off]. I went out there and basically did what I could, made tackles and just show people that I can do that.”
Asked how he planned to handle the expected calls from fans for the Bears to put him in the starting lineup, Wright acted as if he knew the situation was coming, but quickly diffused things.
“Yeah,” Wright said, pausing. “But you know, I just have to go out and better myself.”
He definitely took the first step in doing that against the Chargers.