Bears designate WR N'Keal Harry for return; OL Cody Whitehair headed to IR

N'Keal Harry is a 6-4, 225-pound receiver the Bears are hoping will use his size in the red zone. USA Today Sports

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears placed Cody Whitehair on injured reserve Wednesday after the left guard sustained a right knee injury in a Week 4 loss to the New York Giants.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus reiterated Whitehair’s injury is not considered season-ending. The offensive lineman will be eligible to return ahead of the Week 9 home game against the Miami Dolphins.

In the meantime, Eberflus said the team will stick with the same offensive line combination it used when Whitehair exited in the second quarter Sunday: Braxton Jones at left tackle, Lucas Patrick at left guard, Sam Mustipher at center, Teven Jenkins at right guard and Larry Borom at right tackle.

Chicago also announced wide receiver N'Keal Harry has been designated for return from injured reserve after missing the first four games. Harry sustained a high-left-ankle sprain on Aug. 7 and underwent surgery. He made the initial 53-man roster and was placed on injured reserve one day later.

A 21-day window is now open for Harry to return to the active roster. Eberflus would not give a specific timetable for when the Bears expect Harry to play, other than noting the wide receiver will go through individual drills in practice Wednesday and reconvene with the training staff later.

“We’ll have to wait and see where he is,” Eberflus said when asked whether Harry could be available for Chicago’s Week 5 road game against the Minnesota Vikings. “If he’s doing well, there’s potentially that. It’s 21 days. We’ll figure it out as we go. We like where he is right now for sure.”

The wide receiving corps could use a boost after a slow start for a team that ranks 31st in total offense. Darnell Mooney broke out of a slump against the Giants with four catches for 94 yards, but no other Bears receiver recorded a reception in Week 4.

Chicago traded for the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Harry -- a former New England Patriots first-round choice -- in July with the hopes of capitalizing on his big frame.

“He’s a big-body guy that’s open like a tight end,” Eberflus said. “Tight ends are typically open because they got smaller guys covering them. The catch radius is there.”

Quarterback Justin Fields believes adding Harry into the mix will help with specific matchups.

“He would of course be a good matchup for smaller DBs,” Fields said. “One on one, especially red zone, just throwing up a jump ball to him, that's one of the things he does really well. ”

Harry caught 22 passes for 184 yards and no touchdowns during his third and final season with the Patriots in 2021.