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Robbie Gould sounds interested in returning to Chicago

San Francisco 49ers v Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Robbie Gould #9 of the San Francisco 49ers kicks a field goal in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Just before the start of the 2016 season, Bears General Manager Ryan Pace cut kicker Robbie Gould. Since then, Gould leads the NFL in field goal percentage, while the Bears have had a series of kicking problems. Now Gould’s contract with the 49ers is coming to an end, and the dots are easy to connect.

And they become even easier to connect given Gould’s recent comments. Gould, who still makes the Chicago area his primary home, made an appearance in Chicago on Friday and told the Associated Press that he still considers himself a Bear.

Once a Bear always a Bear,” he said. “I truly mean that. This is where I spent 11 years of my life playing for an awesome organization. I’ve developed a lot of great relationships throughout the city but also the organization, just like I’ve done in New York, just like I’ve done in San Francisco. Will it happen? I don’t know.”

The 49ers will have something to say about that: San Francisco is reportedly read to slap the franchise tag on Gould to keep him from leaving.

“They have the opportunity to get a contract done with me,” Gould said of the 49ers. “Obviously, they have exclusive rights to talk to me until free agency opens. There’s no reason not to. . . . At this point, I’m just enjoying being around my kids and not really worried about the football contract.”

So while Gould sounds interested in a return to Chicago, and the Bears are surely interested given their recent decision to release Cody Parkey, the 49ers may stand in the way, and keep Gould around for at least another year.