Bears’ Gould backtracks on extension rant
BOURBONNAIS — Robbie Gould was backpedaling faster Thursday afternoon than some of his teammates ran the mandatory 300-yard shuttles earlier in the day.
Wednesday night, just hours after Bears’ general manager Phil Emery said there would be no contract extensions done during the season, Gould, went off on ESPN 1000’s Training Camp Live Show.
“If they don’t want to re-sign me now, it’s going to cost them double at the end of the year,” said Gould, whose six-year, $15.5 million deal expires at the end of the season.
Thursday, though, the 31-year-old, ninth-year veteran sang a different tune.
“No one is worried about a contract,” Gould said. “I didn’t say (Wednesday) night that I was worried about a contract. I just said they have a lot of decisions to make.
“Any time you have (43) guys (whose contracts are) up, there are decisions to be made. They’re going to have to find out the guys they want to keep and are able to keep. That’s just the nature of the business. Is football a game? Sure. It’s a lot more of a business than it is a game of football.”
Gould, who is returning from a calf injury that caused him to miss the final three games last season and required off-season surgery, connected on 84.0 percent of his field-goal attempts last season and hasn’t made less than 83.3 percent in any of the previous seven seasons. He has the six highest single-season FG percentages in franchise history, which is why he’s scheduled to make a base salary of $2.425 million this season plus a $500,000 roster bonus.
Regarding the moratorium on new contracts, Emery said he wants the team’s full attention to be on the season at hand. He also added the team lacks the extra money under the salary cap to extend players already under contract.
It appears Gould gets it now.
“He’s not going to give anyone a deal,” the kicker said. “There is no money. Until they can get the (cap) number where they can find a way in 2014 to keep a lot of guys, that’s what they’re going to do. It’s not rocket science. No one is going to get a deal.”
After attempting just 2 field-goal attempts of 50 yards or longer in his first four seasons, Gould has connected on 13 of 15 from 50 yards or farther in the past four seasons, including 8-for-8 since 2011. He also has consistently improved his distance on kickoffs and was tied for 10th in the NFL last season with 38 touchbacks despite missing three games.
But even if Gould makes every kick this season, he’s not going to get double his current salary from the Bears or anyone else. He says he wants to remain with the Bears but also that it may be in his best interests to test free agency.
“I’m happy to be a Bear,” Gould said. “I want to be a Bear the rest of my life. If they don’t want to do that, then, when the timing is right, I’m going to have to move on. It’s just part of football. I’m not going to be here forever. I get that. I understand that. (But) I’d love to be here.
“Hopefully down the road we can make that happen and make it work.”
The Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski set the standard for kickers with a four-year, $16 million deal in 2010 that included $9 million in guaranteed money.
While Gould insisted he has no hard feelings, he says he’ll go into the season with an attitude.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “When I go into seasons with that chip on my shoulder — and you can talk to any one of my teammates — I play really well when I have that. I’m excited about it.
“I worked my butt off to get to where I am today, especially coming back from an injury and a pretty big surgery. I’m ready to play and play at the high level that I have always played at. I always play better with a chip on my shoulder. I spent the last five weeks trying to find it, and I found it. I’m ready to go.”
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