So the Chicago Bears have let Johnny Knox go. While he has had some great moments in his NFL career, I am not sad to see that he will not wear the Bears uniform again. But before you think I am going to go completely negative on him, it is amazing that he was even trying to return to the field despite the horrific spinal injury he suffered versus the Seattle Seahawks .
Knox had blazing speed and when he got the ball in the open field, there was not a defender who could catch him. He even earned himself a spot in the Pro Bowl following the 2009 season as a kick returner. All of these factors added up to what could have been a very dominant and special wide receiver in the NFL.
Even if he hadn’t been injured, I do not feel that he would have ever reached his full potential based on the skill set he possessed. Knox was a wide receiver who never liked contact. He also seemed to have trouble knowing what routes he was supposed to run and where he needed to be on the field in key situations. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw many passes that wound up being intercepted as a result of Knox not knowing where he was suppose to be on a given play.
While Knox possessed a very slender body, the fear of a big hit is simply an unacceptable trait in an NFL wide receiver. It became downright maddening to watch Bears games on Sundays with him lining up as a wide receiver. If there was a defensive player within five yards of him, he seemed to want no part of catching the ball. When he did catch a ball with a defender near him, it came as a big surprise and shock.
Some people will try to point out that Knox had more than 2,000 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. Are those numbers impressive? Yes, they are very impressive, considering that he only had 133 receptions during his career. But those numbers are spread over a three year span. Compare that to Brandon Marshall in 2012 (118 receptions, 1508 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns) and suddenly those numbers over a three-year span do not look as impressive.
The Bears made the best possible decision for their franchise on Tuesday morning by terminating Knox’s contract. The Bears knew that he was never going to be able to play the game anymore, as evidenced by his retirement announcement one day after being released by Chicago. Had Knox not been injured, I believe the Bears would have been saying goodbye anyway. There are much better wide receivers out there who are not nearly as fearful of contact.