Less than a week before a pivotal meeting with the Green Bay Packers, the Bears' special teams took a series of blows on Tuesday when kicker Robbie Gould and No. 2 special teams tackler Sherrick McManis were placed on injured reserve along with safety Craig Steltz.
To replace Gould, the Bears added veteran kicker Olindo Mare in addition to signing linebacker Jerry Franklin to a two-year deal and moving wide receiver Joe Anderson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. The Bears waived veteran guard Andre Gurode, signed Nov. 27 but not used in the Minnesota game when the Bears replaced Edwin Williams at left guard with undrafted free agent James Brown.
Gould, the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, injured his calf in pregame warmups before Sundays game against the Minnesota Vikings. He was able to kick extra points after both Bears touchdowns but was unable to kick off. Punter Adam Podlesh handled kickoffs.
McManis suffered a knee injury against the Vikings and was tied for second on the team with 10 special teams tackles.
Steltz had two special teams tackles and a forced fumble against the Vikings and had 12 tackles at safety, providing backup to starters Chris Conte and Major Wright this season.
Mare was the winner of a kicking competition at Halas Hall on Tuesday and comes with 15 NFL seasonsof experience with four teams. He started with the Miami Dolphins in 1997-2006, went to the New Orleans Saints in 2007, the Seattle Seahawks from 2008-10, and was with the Panthers in 2011.
Mare, who was successful on 22 of 28 field goals last season, has converted 350 of 431 field goals for his career and all but six of his 486 PATs for a total of 1,530 points.
He also has substantial experience kicking against the Bears, in Soldier Field and elsewhere. Mare converted field goals from 29, 39 and 38 yards in Carolinas 34-29 loss to the Bears last season and three extra points in Seattles 2010 win over the Bears. He connected on four of six field goal tries (46, 37, 39, 46 yards) when the Bears won at Seattle in 2009.
Ironically, the two misses against the Bears were Mares only two all season.
Mare provided the final three points in Miamis 31-13 upset of the Bears in 2006 and was good from 27 and 29 yards in Miami in the Dolphins 2002 victory over Chicago.
Gould had told CSNChicago.com on Monday that he felt great and planned to rehab a little bit, get ready for practice and get ready to beat Green Bay.
Gould has had 10 game-winning field goals in his career, most recently for the victory over the Panthers in addition to tying the Seattle game with a 46-yard field goal as time expired at the end of regulation.