Eddy Pineiro may, or may not, be the Bears’ placekicker when the regular season starts Sept. 5, but for now, he’s the last kicker standing after the team’s much-hyped preseason kicker audition.
The Bears waived kicker Elliott Fry on Sunday, leaving Pineiro as the only kicker on the roster. Of course, Chicago might opt to pick up a kicker released by another team, but for now, the job is Pineiro’s to win or lose. So far he is 3-for-4 on extra points and field goals in the first two preseason games.
“I feel like there’s still two games left and anything could happen in the next two games,” Pineiro said Friday night (via the Chicago Tribune). “Hopefully we get more kicks.”
The Bears, of course, released kicker Cody Parkey after he missed a 43-yard field goal in Chicago’s loss to the Eagles in the playoffs (to be fair, the NFL later officially ruled the ball had been tipped, which affected its course).
Chicago’s search for a kicker has played out almost like a reality show this summer. The team invited eight kickers to their rookie minicamp in May, and immediately had everyone try a 43-yard field goal. Six of the kickers missed. As the kicking competition wore on, reporters regularly sought out reactions from other team members.
And other teams even got in on the action — in the first preseason game, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera admitted he called a timeout in an attempt to ice Fry before a 43-yard field goal attempt (he made the kick).
The Bears acquired Pineiro, who went undrafted in 2018 out of the University of Florida, from the Raiders in May. He’s yet to appear in an NFL regular season game. Pineiro admitted this week on the Bears website that the kicking competition has been mentally draining.
“Yeah, it’s a little exhausting,” Pineiro said. “Just every day you feel like, ‘Oh damn, if I miss this kick am I going to get cut? Are they going to trade for somebody else?’ It does get annoying, but I can’t control any of that. What I can control is showing what I can do on the field, and hopefully we get some more opportunities this next week.”