Nagy has belief in kicker Santos from their KC days
Matt Nagy was a witness to Cairo Santos' best moments in the NFL.
Santos spent four years in Kansas City while Nagy was an assistant coach and now he'll open the season as the Bears' kicker, while Eddy Pineiro is on the injured list.
"I just know from my history, playing outside in Arrowhead and other places for three years with Cairo, it was just one of those deals where you never were concerned that when he got up to kick a field goal or extra point, you weren't concerned at all if he was going to make it or miss it," Nagy said Thursday.
"They're all going to have some misses, but it wasn't something where you were holding your breath. That's just how I felt. Right now he's in here, he's making a lot of kicks, which I like."
Santos was the Chiefs' regular kicker from 2014-16, when he connected on 84.3 percent of his field goal attempts (86 for 102). He suffered a groin injury in 2017 and has been bouncing around the league ever since. This will be his second stint with the Bears and he feels ready for the challenge.
"I thrive on situations where I have to prove myself and I like that atmosphere and that spirit that you get from just having to fight for a job," Santos told reporters on a Zoom call. "I like that fire that keeps me going. At the same time, you like to have a little job security, know where you're going to live, so your family can be there with you. I've accepted you can never get really comfortable in this league and just go where life takes you."
Santos was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, attended high school in Florida and played in college at Tulane. He rehashed his painful experience with the groin injury that led to the end of his time in Kansas City.
"It was my fourth year with the Chiefs in training camp," he said. "It happened, actually it was a rainy day, just kicking a lot of heavy balls, the groin got sore. From there, when I tried to kick it kept straining the groin.
"They did let me rest, but I think it was the third game that year it tore really bad in the middle of a game. I kept playing through it and just kept tearing it worse."
Santos was eventually released by the Chiefs and had a two-game stint with the Bears later in '17, where he made 1 of 2 field goal attempts.
"Unfortunately, had the exact same thing happen and found out I needed surgery, which was a great thing for me because it fixed issues with my sports hernia that I wasn't aware that I had," he said.
Santos kicked for the Rams and Buccaneers in 2018, then had five games with the Titans last season.
"I feel as healthy as I've ever been," he said. "I got back to where I was in my prime in Kansas City. It's so cliché, but I'm taking it just one day at a time. I try to clear my head from thinking about the past and what I want in the future.
"Today I'm focused on Thursday, just hitting some kickoffs with the team and doing what I need to do to get ready for Week 1."