The location changed from Soldier Field to Halas Hall, and the generally stunned feeling hadn’t worn off from the Bears’ 16-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. But the Bears’ support of beleaguered kicker Cody Parkey remained steadfast, with his teammates having his back even as they cleaned out their lockers following his double-doink missed 43-yard game-winning kick.
“I think I heard the ball was tipped,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “For whatever reason, it didn’t go in. He shouldn’t have been in that position.”
The ball, indeed was tipped, and the NFL record was changed to officially indicate that. But that Parkey’s kick went off the fingertips of an Eagles player doesn’t soften the sting of Sunday’s playoff loss, or the anger and rage that enveloped certain sections of the fanbase.
“I hate it for him,” tight end Trey Burton, whose locker is close to Parkey’s at Halas Hall, said. “One of my really good friends. One of the best guys in this locker room. It's a tough deal. But he's in good spirits. Obviously wish him nothing but the best.”
While Bears players expressed confidence in Parkey’s ability to come back from his brutal miss — “I believe if he were to kick it again, it would just go straight through,” Amukamara said — there’s also the reality of this team needing to find a solution to its kicking woes. And in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s loss, it’s hard to envision Parkey kicking in the regular season in a Bears uniform again.
General manager Ryan Pace will have plenty of questions to answer about Parkey when he has his first press conference since September at a to-be-determined date later this month. But for now, Parkey’s teammates aren’t viewing it as impossible for him to kick again with the Bears.
“If you fast-forward to say a year and four weeks and he makes a Super Bowl kick, it’s a lot different story,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “Time heals all wounds. Over time there are going to be many opportunities for him to kick a lot more game-winning kicks.”
Those opportunities, though, just may not be with the Bears, even if Parkey’s teammates still have his back.
“He put up nine points yesterday and that was more than half of our offense,” offensive lineman Kyle Long said. “Kudos to him for holding his head high and he's one of the guys that has to play the toughest position in football and maybe in sports.”