The Chicago Bears have lost a potential starting offensive lineman, as the team announced Tuesday that it had placed offensive guard Dakota Dozier on injured reserve. Dozier, who is reportedly expected to miss the 2022 season, was carted off the practice field last week after suffering a left knee or leg injury.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Dozier was rotating at right guard with Sam Mustipher. Rookie Zachary Thomas has also reportedly been seeing some time at guard. The Bears are holding position battles at multiple spots on the offensive line, and the Dozier injury makes it seem as though new general manager Ryan Poles could explore some other options in free agency.
Dozier signed a one-year deal with the Bears earlier this offseason after spending the past three years with the rival Minnesota Vikings. In 2020, he started all 16 games at left guard, but played just six games with zero starts in 2021, and was hospitalized due to COVID-19 in November.
Dozier was originally drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Furman. He has played in 76 games (27 starts) 38 games during his first seven seasons in the league. The Bears did not release any information about his specific injury.