Chicago Bears OLB Pernell McPhee practiced with his teammates today for the first time since the final week of the 2015 season.
"I feel awesome," McPhee said after practice. "I feel great. I'm out there practicing, running around with my teammates, so that's the best feeling in the world."
McPhee has been on the shelf since a late-January surgery on his left knee, which was labeled "minor" at the time. He did not play in the preseason and began the year on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He said today that's he's fully healed from the procedure.
"It's been a journey and God healed me and that's the only thing that matters," he said. "I'm healthy. God done tested me, he done healed me and I'll be ready."
He said the delay in his return had less to do with the knee and more about getting his entire body ready to play.
"It really wasn't my knee. It just was some other mechanics, you know I had to oil up," he siad. "Different mechanics you know like how a car, like coach always say, you get a car, you got different mechanics you have to oil up, so throughout the process I just had to oil up everything else around so I know I was 100 percent when I come back.
Today marks the start of the 21-day window in which the Bears must decide on McPhee's season. He will not occupy a roster spot during the three-week span and can be activated at any time.
He's be eligible to return as early as this Sunday's game against the Jaguars, although he wouldn't say if he'll suit up this weekend.
“You’ll see," he said. "Listen, I’m blessed. I get the opportunity to go out there and play football again. Y’all just wait on it. You’ll see. That’s the only thing that matters. I’m healthy.”
It appears McPhee will be back this season, although the Bears could wait until their Week 9 bye to activate him, which would push back his return until the Week 10 contest against the Buccaneers on Nov. 13.
McPhee originally suffered the knee injury Week 9 last year. At that point he led the team with 5.0 sacks but he had just 1.0 sack in his final six games.
With Lamarr Houston on IR and Leonard Floyd questionable due to a calf injury, Chicago's defense is in desperate need of a playmaker like McPhee off the edge. We'll know Sunday at 10:30 a.m. CT if he'll be making his debut against the Jaguars.