Knox tenure with Bears ends – not a happy day

Knox tenure with Bears ends – not a happy day
February 12, 2013, 11:30 am
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You knew pretty well that it was coming at some point and the NFL is, in the end, a business. But the Bears finally terminating the contract of wide receiver Johnny Knox comes with a touch of sadness.
 
Knox was unable to play last season after suffering a serious back injury in the Dec. 2011 Seattle game when he was bent in half backwards by Seahawks defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. He had undergone back surgery but was still visibly unable to walk normally even through last season as he showed up daily at practice to be with teammates.
 
The Bears kept him on the payroll via IR and the PUP list in one of those under-acknowledged class moves that should be recognized.
 
Knox, one of the genuinely unfailingly enjoyable people to be around from his rookie year all the way through his Bears time, was a budding gem, a fifth-round pick out of Abilene Christian in the 2009 draft. He was always a work in progress as a route runner and lost his starting job to Roy Williams in the 2011 preseason but eventually worked his way back into a starting rotation. He averaged 29 yards on kickoff returns as a rookie in 2009.
 
Knox had 4.4 speed that gave the Bears a deep threat in the tradition of Willie Gault. He averaged 16.6 yards per catch through his 45 career games, seventh-best in the NFL over his career from 2009. His 51 catches in 2010 tied Matt Forte for team high, followed by 37 in 2011 despite playing only 14 games.
 
There’s no cheering in the press box, and media members typically don’t have (or at least admit) rooting interests in the games and individuals they cover.
 
Sorry. It is impossible not to root for Johnny Knox.