Despite telling reporters five days ago that he felt great and didn’t expect to be limited during practice this week, Bernard’s only pregame work consisted of light conditioning drills in shorts.
“He went out before the pregame and we wanted to work him out and see how he felt,” head coach Larry Fedora said during his postgame press conference. “It just didn’t feel right for him and so at that point we decided that we weren’t going to take a chance there. He felt like he was close. He thought he was going to able to go going into it and when he got out there, it just didn’t feel right, so that’s when I made the decision.”
Fedora said he wasn’t concerned about the possibility of Bernard being out for an extended period of time.
“I really thought he was going to be able to go today and I don’t think he’s that far away,” Fedora said. “… As a running back, if you don’t have your wheels and things don’t feel right, especially when you’re his style of runner, you can’t do much. I’m not concerned. I’m hoping he’ll be ready to go this week.”
Bernard’s replacements at both running back and punt returner performed well in his place, but his absence was evident. A.J. Blue (19 rushes, 106 yards, TD) and Romar Morris (14 rushes, 70 yards, TD) rotated in the offensive backfield, while Roy Smith (3 returns, 28 yards) handled the punt return duties.
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