Bears head coach Matt Nagy confirmed Wednesday that nickel CB Bryce Callahan suffered a broken left foot Sunday night and will undergo season-ending surgery.
“He’s got great hands, he’s tough, he’s a good kid — I mean, he’s very valuable,” Nagy said. “That’s a big loss for us. But with that said we’re going to have the complete mentality of it’s the next man up, we’re rolling."
Callahan, 27, was playing the best football of his four-year career in a contract season. He posted a career-high two sacks and 45 tackles, and tied his previous best with two interceptions and six passes defensed.
With Callahan going on injured reserve after signing a $1.9 million restricted one-year tender last offseason, the Bears added fellow veteran CB Marcus Williams to their active roster. Williams (5-11,196 pounds), 27, signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State in 2014. He has 10 career interceptions and 27 passes defensed, including a career-high six picks and 10 breakups in 2015. He played two games with the Buccaneers earlier this season.
The unfortunate end to Callahan's season means the Bears have lost one of their more versatile defenders, and what was already one of their tougher offseason contract decisions now has a new layer. When healthy, Callahan has proven to be one of the more dynamic slot players in the NFL. However, he missed 16 combined games with injuries in his first three seasons and will enter Year 5 in search of his first fully healthy campaign.
The fortunate news for Chicago is that its longest-tenured player, Sherrick McManis, and promising undrafted rookie Kevin Toliver have held up well in limited snaps at corner.
“He’s been showing it all year long,” Nagy said of McManis. “... When he’s in there I loved how aggressive he was. … Every player on our defense right now has elevated their game. They’re playing together. They have the trust that if they’re aggressive, they go to make a play someone’s got their back. And he’s shown that.”
Callahan is only the second Bears' "starter" lost for the season because of injury, joining TE Dion Sims on I.R. (Kyle Long is also on the reserve injured list but the Bears haven't ruled out a potential Week 17 or playoff return). It's a stark contrast from recent seasons, when Chicago was among the NFL's most injury-riddled clubs.