The biggest mystery to Sunday's 16-15 Bears playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles has been solved, and it had nothing to do with the upright or Cody Parkey's knack for finding it.
Tight end Trey Burton missed the game with a groin injury, and on Monday as players cleaned out their Halas Hall lockers he described it as being "completely locked."
The Bears are still trying to determine how it happened, and Burton's explanation barely made this more clear.
"I came into practice Friday feeling OK, a little stiff," Burton said. "Got done with practice then was all right. Went home Friday night and started feeling a little bit more stiff.
"Woke up Saturday and my groin was completely locked. I had a tough time walking, tough time really doing anything."
Coach Matt Nagy after the game still seemed at a loss for why he didn't have his starting tight end available.
"It's strange," Nagy said. "I'm not a doctor, but I don't really have an answer for you on that. He ended up getting up and felt it, and did what he was supposed to do which is go in and talk to the trainer and try to get it taken care of."
Burton actually felt something during Friday's practice.
"I thought I'd be able to push through at practice," Burton said. "There was nothing really alarming. After practice I felt pretty good. I went home.
"My history of my body, that's what it does. It locks up when it feels any threat. That's kind of what happened to me."
Burton said he had a lower back issue once with the Eagles and that his body seems to lock up.
"Over time, if you look at the history of my injuries, whenever it feels like it’s threatened or something could possibly happen that’s serious, my body locks up," Burton said. "And that’s what happened to me my whole career.
"Just from my body protecting itself," Burton said. "Some stuff like that."
The issue sounded almost like an anxiety issue, but he said it wasn't.
“I don’t think so," Burton said. "I was in a really good spot mentally going into this game. I was extremely excited to play my former team. And obviously a playoff game as well. I was really looking forward to competing with those guys that I played with for four years."
The end result was Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker trying to run some of Burton's plays.
"I let my team down, I hate it," Burton said.
The Bears often use Burton to catch shovel passes or to beat zone coverage and had obvious plays installed within the game plan for him, but couldn't execute those with the same effectiveness. Especially in the first half, they seemed to miss his impact.
It made for a bad Sunday for Burton, although probably no more so for him than other Bears after Parkey missed off the upright and crossbar to end the season. But at least his teammates were all able to play
"It was extremely frustrating. I'm not going to lie to you," Burton said.