LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Former Chicago Bears first-round pick Kyle Fuller denied that he lacked a sense of urgency to return from a knee injury after the club unsuccessfully designated him to return from injured reserve.
The Bears announced on Wednesday that Fuller will revert to injured reserve and not play in the final two regular season games, one day after defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Fuller never expressed to the team he was ready to go once the organization opened his practice window several weeks ago.
"Any time a guy's hurt, there's three stages to getting back to the field," Fangio said. "One is you've got to get medical clearance. Two, the player's got to say he's ready to go and feels confident and he's chomping at the bit to go play. And then the coaches get involved and see if he's better than what the other choices are and if he really is back to being able to play. A has happened. B hasn't, so C is a non-issue."
Fuller disagreed with the perception he was uneager to come back.
"That's definitely not true," Fuller said. "I've been communicating with the team and letting them know how much I want to be back. Showing them that I'm working to get back. It really just came down to not being ready to go out there and play. I think that's all it was."
Fuller later added that he has a good relationship with Fangio.
"I'm sure [the coaches were frustrated], just like I was myself. That's understandable," Fuller said.
Fuller underwent arthroscopic knee surgery over the summer but began the year on Chicago's 53-man roster. At no time did the Bears hint that Fuller's knee condition would be season-ending. After he was inactive the first three regular season games, the Bears placed Fuller on injured reserve on Sept. 28.
"It's disappointing because you want to be out there, but I have to listen to my body and it's not quite there yet," Fuller said. "I just listen to my body. It tells me what I can and cannot do, and right now I can't go out there and play."
"I still have pain in my knee. I just have to get that right and I'll be good to go from there."
The 14th overall pick in 2014, Fuller started 30 games for the Bears from 2014-15, intercepting six passes and forcing three fumbles.
Fuller said he expects to remain in Chicago, but the 24-year old may not be in the Bears' plans for 2017.