Similar to last year, the Chicago Bears could have a kicker competition brewing in training camp.
The incumbent is last year’s competition winner, Eddy Pineiro. The challenger is former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos, who is expected to rejoin the Bears after a brief stint with the team in 2017, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Santos was once entrenched as a dependable kicker for the Chiefs, making 89 out of 105 field goals and 125 of 130 extra points between 2014 and 2017. His time with the team ended after a nagging groin injury landed him on injured reserve, then ended with him being waived by the team. Harrison Butker has since held the job in Kansas City.
The Bears would later bring in Santos to finish the 2017 season. In two games with the team, he made a 38-yard field goal, missed a 54-yarder and made two extra points.
Since that time with the Bears, Santos has joined four different teams over the 2018 and 2019 seasons. His last tenure with the Tennessee Titans ended in rough fashion, making only 4-of-9 field goals with four misses in one game.
Another Bears kicker competition?
Prior to Saturday, Pineiro had been the only kicker remaining on the Bears’ roster. The 24-year-old emerged as the victor of a grueling competition in the wake of Cody Parkey’s infamous playoff miss.
The team reportedly went as far as bringing in nine kickers for one spot, then putting them through an emotional and statistical wringer. Multiple kickers would later complain of what seemed like a cold, dysfunctional environment, though head coach Matt Nagy defended the search as the team needing to be meticulous after the previous season’s fiasco.
Pineiro was solid enough for the Bears over the course of 2019, going 23-of-28 on field goals and 27-of-29 on extra points. However, that might not be the case in training camp, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Pineiro hasn’t attempted a kick all week
If the 28-year-old Santos can find his old form, there could be a legitimate competition brewing. The Bears’ season is scheduled to begin in three weeks on Sept. 13 against the Detroit Lions.
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