Presuming the end of Johnny Knox's career

February, 12, 2013
2/12/13
10:52
AM ET

The clues have been popping up for a while.

A year ago this month, Johnny Knox said his 2011 back injury was so severe that it left him frighteningly close to never walking again. At training camp last summer, nearly 10 months after the injury, Knox appeared frail and still wasn't walking normally.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that the Bears terminated his contract Tuesday, presumably convinced that he will never play again. Knox was bent violently backwards by a hit from then-Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove during a game on Dec. 18, 2011, and even if he regained normal functionality, there would still have been a big leap from there to reclaiming the elite physical skills needed to play receiver at the NFL level.

Regardless, Knox's career was far more successful than most people projected when the Bears made him a fifth-round draft pick out of Division II Abeline Christian in 2009. As fast as any player in the league when he was drafted, Knox averaged 16.6 yards on 133 receptions over 45 games while also averaging 27.4 yards as a kickoff returner. We wish him the best.

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