Cody Parkey

With free agency in his future, Robbie Gould says he 'will always be a Bear'

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USA TODAY

With free agency in his future, Robbie Gould says he 'will always be a Bear'

Robbie Gould will always be popular among Bears fans, but his name is popping up a bit more frequently after Cody Parkey’s tipped/missed decisive field goal in the playoffs.

Gould, who was with the Bears for 11 seasons, was on the Prostyle Podcast with fellow former Bear Earl Bennett. Bennett asked Gould about a number of hot topics, including Gould’s view on Parkey’s miss and what’s in Gould’s future as a free agent this offseason.

For starters, Gould said he harbors no ill will about his exit from Chicago and still lives in the city.

“I’m not mad about it at all,” Gould said. “At the end of the day, football is a business. Unfortunately as a player you don’t get to say when your type is up at a place. More often than not the organization is your employer, just like other businesses. They get to tell you where, when, how, why and for what reason. As a player you have the opportunity to say yes or no and you have to make those decisions. They made a decision to go in a different direction. I’m happy that they got back to the winning ways this year.”

Gould attended the playoff loss to the Eagles with his kids. Bennett asked Gould if he believed he would have made the crucial kick. Naturally, Gould wasn’t about to step on another kicker and played it safe in his answer.

“We’re talking about a hypothetical,” Gould said. “I wasn’t out there. I didn’t get a chance to kick it. Obviously I feel for Cody Parkey and what he went through on Sunday. I have a lot of respect for him, not only as a person, but also as a kicker. We’ll never know.”

Gould went on to recall his missed potential game-winning kicks in his career. He rattled off five different kicks and some details on all of them, which shows how scarring missing a game-winning field goal is for a kicker.

Then, the big question: would Gould rejoin the Bears? It sounds like the Bears are going to move on from Parkey, both for his on-field performance and the ensuing Today Show appearance, which didn’t seem to endear him to coach Matt Nagy.

Gould said the 49ers have exclusive rights to negotiate with him until the middle of March. He is focusing on spending time with his family in the meantime. Earlier in the interview he talked about the 49ers and their future as if he would be a part of it, but went politically correct when asked about Chicago.

“I love Chicago,” Gould said. “I live here. I still live here. Whether you go to the grocery store or whether you go to the restaurant, that’s the question everyone is asking me. I get it, right? I understand it, but Cody is their kicker right now. He’s the guy on their roster. He’s the guy that I think can rebound and have a great season and do some big things for the Bears down the road. For me, Chicago will always be home. I love the Bear fans. I love this city. I’ll always be a Bear, no matter what team I’m on or where I’m going or whatever happens. One day I’ll probably retire a Bear and you know it’s one of those things, free agency is much out of your control.”

 

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Following missed kicks and ‘me’ appearance on ‘TODAY,’ Cody Parkey’s days with Bears appear numbered

Following missed kicks and ‘me’ appearance on ‘TODAY,’ Cody Parkey’s days with Bears appear numbered

While Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace didn’t explicitly say it on Monday, Cody Parkey’s days with the Bears are numbered, and it would come as a massive shock if the kicker were to still be with the team in eight months.
 
Nagy, who rarely levels criticism against his own players in press conference settings, was clearly not happy with Parkey’s appearance on “TODAY” last Friday, only five days after his infamous double-doink missed kick that knocked the Bears out of their first playoff appearance in eight years.
 
“For me, you understand that we always talk about a ‘we and not a me’ thing, and we always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team,” Nagy said. “You know, I just — I didn't necessarily think that that was too much of a we thing.”
 
Nagy, as recently as Week 17, defended Parkey publicly. But the combination of too many missed kicks and being lobbed redemption-tour softballs on a morning show appears to have made Parkey’s return to the Bears untenable. Nagy said Parkey did not tell him during his exit interview of his plans to go on "TODAY."
 
General manager Ryan Pace stopped short of saying he’d release Parkey, but did acknowledge the Bears’ need to improve the kicking woes that’ve dogged this franchise for the last few years.
 
“That position is an emphasis for us,” Pace said. “We understand we need to get better, get more production out of that position. Matt talks about it all the time: There’s so much parity in our league, so many close games, the kicker position is critical. We know we need to get better there and it’ll be an area of focus.”
 
So the question all but becomes not if but when the Bears will part ways with Parkey, who signed a four-year, $15 million contract with $9 million guaranteed just 10 months ago.
 
Parkey’s contract makes the timing of the Bears releasing him somewhat tricky. According to Spotrac, if Parkey is cut before June 1, the Bears will lose $1.125 million in cap space; if he’s cut after June 1, the Bears won’t lose any cap space but also won’t net any savings.
 
The issue is the Bears enter the offseason with about $20 million in cap space and need to address the impending free agencies of right tackle Bobby Massie, slot corner Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos.
 
Still, cutting Parkey before June 1 could send a message about the culture Nagy worked to build over the last year. It’s also hard to imagine Parkey showing up for OTAs, which begin in May, after Nagy’s comments on Monday.
 
When asked to clarify if he thought Parkey’s “TODAY” appearance was appropriate, Nagy reiterated: “I didn't think it was a we thing.”
 
Only two kickers have more guaranteed money in their contracts than the $9 million the Bears owe to Parkey — those being Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (89.7 percent field goal success rate, 9th) and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (81.5 percent, 22nd). Parkey made 76.7 percent of his field goals, 30th in the league and third-worst among kickers with at least 30 attempts. Tucker and Gostkowski missed one PAT apiece, while Parkey missed three.
 
What Pace’s plan for addressing the kicker position will become clear in the coming months, be it through free agency or the draft. But Pace did say there will be competition no matter how he goes about fixing his team’s biggest weakness.
 
“He wishes that he would’ve made that last one,” Nagy said. “We had a (exit interview) good talk about it. We understand where I’m at in regards to, ‘Hey, you’re here to make those’ but at the same time, he didn’t want to miss it. He didn’t try it but he did. In the end, everyone talks — we’re all evaluated and judged on it and it’s about production and results.”

Matt Nagy criticizes Cody Parkey's appearance on TODAY show in end-of-season press conference

Matt Nagy criticizes Cody Parkey's appearance on TODAY show in end-of-season press conference

Bears head coach Matt Nagy criticized kicker Cody Parkey on Monday for the latter's appearance on the TODAY show last week.

During the Bears' end-of-season press conference on Monday, Nagy implied that Parkey appearing on the show was not in the best interest of the team.


"We and not a me thing. We always talk as a team, we win as a team and lose as a team," Nagy said. "I didn’t necessarily think that was too much of a we thing."

Parkey infamously missed a potential game-winning field goal in the Bears' wild-card game loss against the Eagles. Bears general manager Ryan Pace did not say whether or not Parkey would return to the Bears in 2019. However, he did say there will be competition for the team's kicker position.


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