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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chicago Bears Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

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October 6, 2015 - kicker Robber Gould named the NFC special teams player of the week 
"for making all three of his field goals, including the game-winner from 49 yards with two seconds remaining, against the Raiders. It was the 12th game-winner of the Gould’s career. He also made 19- and 54-yard field goals in the victory. He has made three field goals of 50 yards or more this season. This is the third time in Gould’s career that he’s been special teams player of the week." - Sun-Times

October 4, 2015 - Robbie Gould kicks game winner over Raiders
"After missing a crucial extra point earlier in the game, Bears kicker Robbie Gould redeemed himself Sunday by nailing a 49-yard, game-winning field goal to give Chicago its first win of the season, 22-20 over the Raiders. Gould’s missed extra point weighed heavily after Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski hit a 49-yard field goal to give the Raiders a one-point lead with 2:05 to play. But Jay Cutler drove the Bears 48 yards to the Oakland 31 to set up Gould’s game-winning kick." - Sun-Times

October 2, 2015 - punter Spencer Lanning signed
"Starting punter Pat O'Donnell is dealing with a knee injury and is questionable to face the Oakland Raiders. O’Donnell had been limited at practice the last two days after he punted 10 times for 477 yards in Week 3. The Bears worked out Lanning and fellow free agent punter Steve Weatherford on Thursday morning. Lanning kicked for the Cleveland Browns from 2013-14 where he appeared in 32 games and punted 177 times with an average of 44.1 yards. Lanning was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 3, 2013. Lanning spent the summer of 2011 on the Bears’ preseason roster." - ESPN

September 13, 2105 - kicker Robbie Gould sets franchise field goal record
"The Chicago Bears just kicked off their season Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers, but one player has already set a new franchise record. That player is kicker Robbie Gould, whose 28-yard field goal in the first quarter gave him 244 made field goals in his Bears career. That made kick means that Gould is now alone in first place on the all-time list for the Bears, moving one ahead of Kevin Butler in that category." - NBC

August 30, 2015 - long snapper Rick Lovato released

June 18, 2015 - kicker Jeremiah Detmer released

May 2, 2015 - long snapper Rick Lovato to sign
"For Rick Lovato Jr., the Middletown South product who's been a long-snapping sensation at Old Dominion the past four years, it was the Chicago Bears who called early on Saturday to make clear their interest before checking back with him at the family home in Lincroft in the middle of the seventh round, understanding that the Miami Dolphins were also vying for his services. And the Bears' persistence paid off when Lovato agreed to head to Chicago later this week to sign as a free agent after taking his final exams at ODU." - Asbury Park Press

May 2, 2015 - Toledo kicker Jeremiah Detmer signed
"A career 84.4 percent on field goals, Detmer's experience kicking in nasty Great Lakes-region weather surely appealed to the Bears, who frequently face wind, rain and snow at home at Soldier Field. While the Bears have a steady, tenured starter installed in kicker Robbie Gould, Detmer now has an opportunity to show off his talent at the NFL level." - Hustle Belt

March 18, 2015 - long snapper Thomas Gafford signed
"The Bears have reached an agreement with long snapper Thomas Gafford on a one-year deal, they announced Wednesday. The 32-year old Gafford is a seven-year NFL veteran who has appeared in 105 career games, all with the Kansas City Chiefs. Gafford has previous ties to the Bears, spending the 2008 training camp with the team. Bears assistant special teams coach Derius Swinton was the Chiefs quality control coach in 2012, so he’s previously worked with Gafford." - CBS Chicago

January 19, 2015 - Jeff Rodgers named special teams coordinator
"John Fox has brought an old friend with him to Chicago. On Monday, the Bears named Jeff Rodgers, who worked for Fox with the Broncos and Panthers, their special-teams coordinator. Rodgers spent the last four seasons as the Broncos special teams coordinator. He started as a special-teams assistant for Fox in 2009 in Carolina before becoming coordinator in 2010. Rodgers is Fox’s first hire as Bears coach. Fox will officially introduced on Monday at 11 a.m. at Halas Hall. Rodgers replaces Joe DeCamillis, the Bears’ special-teams coordinator the last two seasons. DeCamillis also was assistant head coach under Marc Trestman." - Sun Times

January 13, 2015 - punter Pat O’Donnell named to PFWA All-Rookie Team
"O’Donnell, the only punter selected in the 2014 NFL draft, was plucked by the Bears in the sixth round (191st overall). He appeared in all 16 games, with an average of 43.8 yards and net average of 37.7 on 71 punts. He had 20 punts downed inside the 20 and three touchbacks. Although it came in one of Chicago’s uglier losses, a 31-15 primetime defeat to the Saints at Soldier Field in Week 15, O’Donnell tallied a net average of 46.3 yards – with three of his six punts downed inside the 20 – in arguably his best game of the season." - Chicago Football

December 3, 2014 - kicker Jay Feely signed
"Feely likely will replace Robbie Gould, whom the team listed as doubtful for Thursday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Gould missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday with a sore quadriceps muscle.... Feely has played only one game at Soldier Field during his 14-year career. During that 2010 preseason game, he did not attempt a field goal. One of his three kickoffs was a touchback. During his career with five teams, Feely has made 82.7 percent of his field goals. He most recently played for the Arizona Cardinals from 2010 through the 2014 preseason. It is not known whether Feely or punter Pat O'Donnell will handle kickoff duties against the Cowboys. O'Donnell has experience doing so in college." - Chicago Tribune

December 2, 2014 - punter Pat O’Donnell practicing emergency kicker role
"Although the Bears don’t seem too concerned about kicker Robbie Gould’s sore quad, they spent Tuesday testing out a contingency plan: rookie punter Pat O’Donnell. With Gould held out of practice, O’Donnell practiced kickoffs and field goals; he had done the former in college. 'We’re all hoping Robbie is good to go,' O’Donnell said. 'He’s a tough guy, so he’ll pull through.' O’Donnell practices placekicking about once a week in practice, in case Gould were to get hurt in a game. He said he typically attempts, and can make, 45-yard kicks. If O’Donnell were to handle kicks, backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen would take his spot as the holder. Still, that seemed unlikely Tuesday. Bears coach Marc Trestman said he was “hopeful” Gould would play Thursday night against the Cowboys, and the Bears would see how he felt Wednesday." - Chicago Sun Times

October 5, 2014 - Robbie Gould misses one in loss to Panthers
"The Carolina Panthers rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Bears 31-24 at Bank of America Stadium.... Robbie Gould — the third-most-accurate placekicker in NFL history — missed a 35-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the half.... It’s been that kind of season for the Bears — every mistake looms large. Even Gould — who has hit 91 percent of his field goals from 30-to-39 yards in his 10-year career, lamented his missed opportunity that should have been a footnote if not forgotten. 'I just missed it,' he said. 'I tried to put it inside the right upright, ­because the wind was blowing right to left. It’s a key play in the game. It’s a 10-point swing — gives them ­momentum. Those are kicks that a kicker like myself has to make. There’s no ­excuse for it. I’ve got to do a better job when I’m called upon because I don’t get many opportunities'." - Chicago Sun Times

September 1, 2014 - long snapper Jeremy Cain signed
"The Bears found a long snapper, for Week One, at least, signing Jeremy Cain to the 53-man roster on Monday. This is Cain’s third stint with the Bears. The 6-1, 245-pounder was a linebacker playing mainly on special teams when he appeared in eight games for the Bears in 2004-05. He was with the Jaguars from 2009-12 and has played in 83 career games. Last season, Cain was the Bears’ long snapper for two games in place of Patrick Mannelly, who retired in June." - Bears Insider

August 31, 2014 - long snapper Brandon Hartson waived
"The Bears will enter the regular season with a new long snapper after they waived Brandon Hartson on Sunday. Hartson, 24, beat out CFL veteran Chad Rempel in the Bears' preseason competition but didn't inspire long-term confidence. Rempel was waived Aug. 18. The Bears auditioned four snappers earlier this week, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. And ESPN reported three more worked out for the team on Sunday, including former Bear Jeremy Cain." - Chicago Tribune

August 28, 2014 - final preseason game
"Bears kicker Robbie Gould patted long-snapper Brandon Hartson on the helmet after he missed a 52-yard field goal wide right in the second quarter of the exhibition finale Thursday night against the Browns. It was Gould's third miss on as many attempts from beyond 40 yards this preseason as Gould works with a new long snapper and holder. 'I just have to do a better job finding my rhythm,' Gould said. 'I haven't done a good enough job of doing that. We haven't really been together for that long.' Gould had a 41-yarder blocked in the exhibition opener at Soldier Field against the Eagles, and he missed wide right from 47 yards last week on the road against the Seahawks. He was 9 of 11 from 40 yards and beyond last season. 'We'll get a lot of reps this week, and we'll be ready for Buffalo,' Gould said." - Redeye Chicago

August 18, 2014 - Chad Rempel & Tress Way released
"The Bears waived long snapper Chad Rempel and punter Tress Way... The moves mean that, for the time being, sixth-round pick Pat O’Donnell has won the punting job and Brandon Hartson will be his long snapper. Rempel, 32, has spent his career in the CFL and he actually trained with O’Donnell prior to the draft, which is when the Bears discovered him. Aside from a shaky first practice at camp, he had been solid. Way made the punting competition more interesting than we thought in Bourbonnais, but wasn’t consistent. In five preseason punts, he had an average of 41.0 yards and a net average of 39.0 yards, compared to O’Donnell’s 46..6-yard average and 42.4 net yards." -  Chicago Football 

July 27, 2014 - long snapper competition
"The Bears’ long snapper competition on Sunday reminded special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis that the ultra-reliable Patrick Mannelly is indeed retired. During team punting drills, Chad Rempel, the 10-year CFL veteran, snapped a ball that 6-foot-4 punter Pat O’Donnell had to jump to catch. And Rempel later bounced one back to O’Donnell. 'I’ll have to go back and look at exactly what went wrong,' Rempel said. 'I think I just got a little too amped. First punting period in front of the crowd, and I got a little amped and outside of myself. You have to move on.' Brandon Harston, the 24-year-old who played in three preseason games for the Bears last season, also snapped one lower than the ideal height to punter Tress Way. Saturday’s performances won’t decide the competition, of course, and DeCamillis maintained a zoomed-out view after practice. Neither snapper stood out for negative plays in field goal drills earlier in camp. 'We’ve got to work through the process and find out who our guy is going to be,' he said. 'Hopefully he’s on this team right now. He may not be. We’ll have to see. I wouldn’t say concern. I’ve been in this position before with young guys. You’ve just got to work through the process'.” - Chicago Tribune

July 9, 2014 - punter competition
Both Pat O'Donnell and Tress Way regularly hit the roof of the Walter Payton Center with their punts during offseason workouts, something that made DeCamillis smile. 'If it hits the roof in there, that means they are hanging the ball,' DeCamillis said. 'If they don't hit the roof, that's usually not a good thing because that means it's coming right back at you in the return form. I'm glad that it's hitting the roof, let's just say that.' Interestingly, Way's performance has improved since the Bears drafted O'Donnell. 'I've seen some guys fold and some guys rise to the occasion, and obviously you want the guys that are going to rise to the occasion,' DeCamillis said. 'You want a guy that knows how to compete and that's what we've seen so far, so hopefully that continues.' Although NFL teams rarely cut punters they draft, DeCamillis insists that O'Donnell and Way are battling for the job on an even playing field. 'I understand the draft pick status, but it's a true competition and I think that's how it should be,' DeCamillis said. 'If your football team is built on competition, you have a chance of getting better at all positions, and that's no different'." - Bears

June 23, 2014 - kicker Robbie Gould discusses long snappers
"That doesn't mean Gould won't be missing his former teammate, especially now that he's transitioning to a new long snapper. He just doesn't know if it will be Brandon Hartson or Chad Rempel taking over the duties. 'There's no edge,' Gould said of the position battle. 'They're picking up the schemes and what they need to do. You want them to be able to block and put it in the location they need to put it. It's real specific. Mannelly was great at it. He's the best to ever play the game. You're not going to fill those shoes.' Gould said it was 'special' to watch Mannelly up close during the long snapper's 16-year career with the Bears but now realizes the responsibility he'll have to take on without him. 'For me to get out there with a couple young guys and teach them the ropes like Mannelly did for me is exciting,' Gould said." - Chicago Tribune

June 20, 2014 - long snapper Patrick Mannelly retiring
"General manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis have said it publicly numerous times: The door was open for Mannelly to return after he underwent hip surgery. But multiple sources told the Tribune that Mannelly, 39, will announce his retirement Friday, meaning the team will have a new permanent long snapper this season for the first time since 1997. Mannelly, who served as a captain the past six seasons, maintained all along that he hoped to return for a 17th season (he’s the only player in Bears’ history to play more than 14) but said he would have to feel right. He didn’t want to play again and not feel like he was at an elite level and he also didn’t want to risk being a deterrent to the club after 2,282 plays without a botched snap. His 245 games played stand far ahead of Olin Kreutz and Steve McMichael, who are tied for second with 191. Only two long snappers in the history of the NFL have appeared in more games. Trey Junkin holds the record with 281 and David Binn played in 256." - Chicago Tribune

June 18, 2014 - punter competition
"Coaches are more than pleased with the ball-launching of O’Donnell, selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. 'That’s something that’s good, by the way,' said special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. 'If it hits the roof in there, that means they are hanging the ball. If they don’t hit the roof that’s usually not a good thing because that means it’s coming right back at you in the return form. I’m glad that it’s hitting the roof, let’s just say that.' If there is one surprise on 'teams' it has been the showing of Tress Way, who came to camp last year as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma with virtually zero chance of unseating Adam Podlesh. Podlesh punted his way out of Chicago this offseason and Way has seized the situation and is conceding nothing to O’Donnell because of the latter’s status as a draft choice. 'I think it's going to be a heck of a competition,' DeCamillis said. 'I think when we drafted Pat, for whatever reason Tress really picked his business up. He's really punted well and it's going to be a heck of a competition'.” - CSN Chicago

May 18, 2014 - punter Drew Butler to be released
The Bears plan to cut punter Drew Butler as part of the roster turnover following this weekend's rookie camp, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Sunday. The team's selection of former University of Miami punter Pat O'Donnell in the sixth-round on May 10 created a logjam at the position. O'Donnell joined Butler, who signed a reserve/future contract on Dec. 31, and Tress Way, who was in Bears training camp in 2013." - Chicago Tribune

May 18, 2014 - Pat O'Donnell works with Robbie Gould
"The 6-foot-5 O’Donnell showcased his powerful leg during the Bears’ three-day rookie minicamp, but the rookie also spent valuable time off-the-field learning from Gould, one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. O’Donnell will double as the Bears’ holder next season barring some unforeseen event. 'Robbie has been throughout the building trying to help me out, and learning from him will be a great opportunity for me,' O’Donnell said on Sunday. 'I know it’s a great challenge playing in Chicago at times, but I’m looking for to it. He told me that on a windy day like this you should go out and walk the field and try to correct your drop. [He told me] to focus on the kicking side of your technique.... I held for three years, so I’m pretty familiar with that. Robbie is a veteran, so he’s going to tell me exactly how he likes it held. So I’m going to be guided in the right direction. So it’s not going to be too big of a challenge'.” - ESPN

May 17, 2014 - long snapper scenario
"It remains to be seen whether there will be a true opening at long snapper with longtime Bear Patrick Mannelly still uncertain whether he will return for his 17th season with the club. Mannelly, an unrestricted free agent, had hip surgery shortly after last season and has said he wants to monitor the progress of his rehabilitation before determining if he's physically and mentally locked in for another year. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis has been in contact with Mannelly but doesn't know what to anticipate. 'There's no pressure one way or the other,' DeCamillis said. 'We just have to let it play out. He has had a great career, and I hope he continues a great career.' The Bears have three new long snappers at rookie camp. Chad Rempel, 31, was signed in April and is the oldest camp attendee after spending his last 10 seasons in the CFL. Brandon Hartson was signed to a reserve futures contract in December. And Craig Montgomery is an unsigned tryout invitee out of Georgetown." - Chicago Tribune

May 11, 2014 - punter Tyler Campbell, kickers Mike Meyer & Mitch Ewald, and long snapper Craig Montgomery invited to minicamp
"Another training camp deal to report: punter Tyler Campbell is headed to Chicago, per his Twitter. 'Proud that I'm going to mini camp with the Chicago Bears. Great opportunity!!!' Campbell, the second-best punter in school history with a 44.6 yard average, was fourth in the SEC and 12th nationally with a 44.4 yard average in 2013." - Clarion-Ledger

It's also been reported that former Iowa kicker Mike Meyer and former Indiana kicker Mitch Ewald will also be attending the minicamp, along with Georgetown class of 2013 long snapper Craig Montgomery.

May 10, 2014 - punter Pat O'Donnell drafted
With the 15th pick in the 6th round, the Bears selected Miami (FL) punter Pat O'Donnell, whose profile can be found here.
"punter Patrick O’Donnell in the sixth round, a big (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), fast (4.64 in the 40) and strong (23 bench-presses of 225 pounds) athlete who averaged 43.5 yards on 181 career punts. One of only two punters to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, he played his first three seasons at Cincinnati, graduated and used his remaining year of eligibility with a transfer to Miami. 'I think it definitely helps being the strongest you can be at your position,' said O’Donnell, who transferred to Miami because his father was dealing with cancer. 'He’s good now. He’s in remission.' O’Donnell, the first punter taken in this year’s draft, will compete with Drew Butler and Tress Way for what was Adam Podlesh’s vacant job. But the Bears expending a draft choice on O’Donnell suggests that the other two will be punting for jobs elsewhere during preseason. O’Donnell is the first punter drafted by the Bears since they used a No. 2 for Todd Sauerbrun in 1995 after losing Chris Gardocki, a No. 3 pick in 1991, through free agency." - CSN Chicago

April 8, 2014 - long snapper Patrick Mannelly status
"Patrick Mannelly’s career isn’t over yet. But as the Bears’ long snapper — the most tenured player in the history of the franchise — continues to rehab from Jan. 23 hip surgery, he wants to make sure he’s healthy before deciding whether or not to retire.... If he decides to play, Mannelly said, it will be only for the Bears. 'It would be tough to put on another helmet for another team,' he said. Mannelly received the team’s Ed Block Courage Award on Tuesday at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, and will fly to San Diego on Tuesday night to continue to rehab his hip at EXOS. He’s finishing the third month of a recovery period that takes four to six months. If he decides to return, Mannelly said he’d likely be able to participate in OTAs." - Chicago Sun-Times

April 7, 2014 - long snapper Chad Rempel signed
"The plan is for Pat Mannelly to return for a club record 17th season as the long snapper of the Chicago Bears this season but he’s yet to complete rehabilitation following offseason hip surgery. So the club is taking a look at other long snappers and preparing other options, leading it to sign Chad Rempel to a three-year contract Monday, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. Rempel, a native of Alberta, Canada, is a CFL veteran who had two stints with the Montreal Alouettes under coach Marc Trestman. Rempel, 31, has also played for the Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts." - Chicago Tribune

March 17, 2014 - punter Drew Butler sees opportunity
"Butler, who spent the entire 2012 season punting for the Steelers, and Tress Way, who was with the Bears as a camp leg last summer, are the only two punters on the roster. Adam Podlesh was released before free agency opened. With a 90-man offseason roster, it is possible the Bears will add a third punter to the mix at some point but chances are the team will only take two to training camp because practice reps become scarce.... He beat out former Bills Pro Bowl punter Brian Moorman in training camp and preseason to win the job in Pittsburgh last summer, but the Steelers brought in ex-Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko for a tryout and chose him over Butler before the season opener. Mesko lasted seven games and then the Steelers turned to Mat McBriar.... Butler had a 43.8-yard gross average in 2012 and a net of 37.8. He landed 26 punts inside the 20-yard line and forced 20 fair catches.... Way, an undrafted free agent from Oklahoma last year, showed a big leg in training camp but wasn’t always consistent. He averaged 38.2 yards on six punts in preseason with Podlesh getting the bulk of the work." - Chicago Tribune

March 7, 2014 - long snapper Patrick Mannelly wins award
"The longest-tenured Bear of all-time, long snapper Patrick Mannelly will receive the Ed Block Courage Award on Tuesday, April 8 at a luncheon at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. The award is presented to one player on all 32 NFL teams who 'best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room. The award recipients, who are voted for by their teammates, symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and they are considered community role models'.” - HubArkush
March 5, 2014 - punter Adam Podlesh released
"The Chicago Bears announced that they have terminated the contract of P Adam Podlesh on Wednesday. Podlesh, 30, still had two years remaining on his five-year, $10 million contract. He would have made $1.4 million for the 2014 season and counted $1.825 million against their salary cap. Chicago will save $1.025 million by releasing him." - Yardbarker

January 22, 2014 - minor surgery for long snapper Patrick Mannelly
"Mannelly will undergo minor hip surgery soon and if all goes expected, he will have a job with the Chicago Bears when he’s healed up. Multiple sources said Mannelly, 38, will have an opportunity to return as the team’s long snapper if he chooses. The veteran told the Tribune he was going to take some time to map out his future after the season, also revealing he had surgery forthcoming." - Chicago Tribune

January 4, 2014 - punter Robbie Gould gets bonus
"The Chicago Bears dipped into remaining resources for 2013 and gave kicker Robbie Gould a $3 million signing bonus in the four-year contract he received before the end of the regular season. The timing of the contract allowed the team to pro-rate the signing bonus over five seasons, including 2013. The contract is worth a total of $15 million with $8.85 million fully guaranteed against injury." - Chicago Tribune

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