Plenty of teams bring in competition for their kickers during training camp, even of the token variety to mainly give the regular guy a breather.
The Bears haven’t done that in recent years, but they are doing it this year. Austin Signor has been signed to a three-year deal after trying out during the Bears’ minicamp, which could just be a sign that Marc Trestman likes to have two kickers on the roster in the offseason. It could also be a sign that the team has concerns about how Robbie Gould will recover from the ruptured tendon in his leg that forced him onto injured reserve at the end of the season.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com reports that Gould had surgery to repair the injury 13 weeks ago and wasn’t able to kick during last week’s minicamp. Gould, entering the final year of a five-year deal, said that he welcomes Signor’s addition.
“I’m excited about it, I really am,” Gould said. “Competition is healthy, at every position, and it only makes all the players better. Hopefully I can learn a little bit from Austin, and he can learn a little bit from me. This is exactly what the Bears are supposed to do. All good organizations create competition. It’s healthy. I’m looking forward to it. Competition brings out the best in everybody.”
Gould is expected to get clearance for full activity in three weeks. Gould was 21-of-25 on field goals last season and rang up 38 touchbacks in 13 games before his injury, so a return to full health will likely make it an uphill climb for Signor this offseason.