The Bears' new kicker is just 23 years old.
The Bears have a bad history when it comes to kickers. Chicago's 2018 season ended on a Cody Parkey 'double doink' missed field goal against the Eagles in the NFC wild-card round, and the team's offseason has featured perhaps the strangest kicker competition in league history. But Chicago has now settled on 23-year-old Eddy Pineiro, a Florida product who went undrafted in 2018 after just two seasons with the Gators. Here's what you need to know about the Bears' beacon of kicking hope.
According to Al Michaels, the legendary voice of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Piniero once “kicked an 81-yard field goal with the wind in practice somewhere" and beat out 500 guys to win a kicking competition at the Nick Saban kicking tryout camp in Alabama a few years ago. While 500 might be a bit of an exaggeration, Pineiro's performance was still impressive enough that he was offered a scholarship to Alabama, which he initially accepted. When it came time to sign, however, the North Miami Beach native went with his home state Gators over the Crimson Tide.
Pineiro left Florida early to enter the draft and signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in May of 2018 but was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 1 before the regular season started. The youngster was traded to the Bears the next May in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft.
Pineiro finished the 2019 preseason connecting on 8 of 9 field goals, including a 58-yarder against the Colts, and 3 of 4 extra points. His misses included a 48-yard field goal attempt against the Panthers and a badly botched extra-point attempt against the Titans in Chicago's final preseason game.
Pineiro won the starting job over former Alliance of American Football kicker Elliott Fry, who was released by the Bears on Aug. 18. He was named the starter for Chicago's season opener on Thursday Night Football.