The Chicago Bears are releasing running back Tarik Cohen with an injury designation, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Cohen is hoping to return to the field this season after missing the entire 2021 campaign with a knee injury. Cohen has not played since suffering an ACL injury three weeks into the 2020 season.
This was the first significant injury of Cohen's entire football career. He was asked last month what has kept him motivated during his recovery.
"I want to the player that I was before I got hurt," Cohen said on a Rally House Q&A. "I won't let myself come back before I'm ready and before I feel like I can put the same performances on that I was putting on before I got hurt."
A fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Cohen blossomed into an All-Pro performer in 2018. That season, Cohen caught 71 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 444 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the NFL in punt return yardage while helping the Bears capture the NFC North division crown. While he caught a career-high 79 passes in 2019, that season was largely a disappointing one for Cohen and the Bears, who missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
With Cohen injured, 2019 third-round pick David Montgomery has emerged as the Bears' featured back. Montgomery amassed 3,732 all-purpose yards and 24 touchdowns during his first three seasons in Chicago. He ran for 849 yards in 2021 as the Bears finished 14th in the NFL in rushing.
If healthy, Cohen could help a team that is in need of a versatile, complementary back. Cohen is one of several notable running backs who will likely be available at the start of free agency. Other notable running backs who will likely test the market include Melvin Gordon, David Johnson, Leonard Fournette, Cordarrelle Patterson, Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert.