Robbie Gould began the 2015 season as the third-most-accurate kicker in NFL history. With a spotty year that included a couple of demoralizing misses, he finished the year ninth all-time.
Now, beginning with his earliest-ever start to the offseason, Gould has set a target considerably higher than even No. 3”
“I want to be the best kicker to ever play the game,” Gould said on Tuesday. “And the only way to do that is through hard work and by dedicating yourself to doing it.”
He was vilified by more than a few fans last season when he uncharacteristically missed late-fourth-quarter field goals in losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins on successive weekends. But what his teammates think of him was reflected in Gould being voted by them as the winner of the annual Ed Block Courage Award for this year, presented to Gould on Tuesday at a luncheon at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.
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“The award itself is voted on by your teammates,” Gould said. “So anytime your teammates vote on something, whether it’s an award or anything else, it means a lot more.”
The Ed Block Courage Award honors NFL players on all 32 teams who symbolize professionalism, great strength, dedication, sportsmanship and courage. The Ed Block Courage Award foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children and ending the cycle of abuse.
Gould is the longest-tenured Bear, signed as a free agent during the 2005 season. And his end is not in sight yet.
“I’m going to play a lot longer, whether it’s here down the road or somewhere else,” Gould said. “I’ve got a lot of football left in me.”
Gould broke the Bears field-goal mark and became the franchise’s all-time scoring leader last season as he converted 33 of 39 attempts, including 14 of 18 from 40 yards or longer. His success rate of 84.6 percent was only slightly off his career average of 85.4 percent.
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As for the disappointments of the San Francisco and Washington misses and the 6-10 season, “I’ve honestly moved on from it,” Gould said. “I think I had a really good year. I think there’s a lot of things I can learn from last year that can help me prepare for this year.”
Gould already has begun his own offseason workout, coupled with adding several pounds to add strength. It is, he said, the earliest he has ever kicked in an offseason.
And he has taken on an added leadership role amid all the roster changes resulting from the Bears’ offseason signings.
“I understand what it means to be a Chicago Bear.”