LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Bears head coach Matt Nagy turned up the pressure on Chicago’s place-kickers on the final day of minicamp.
After an offseason full of kicking woes, Nagy called on Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro to each attempt a 40-yard field goal on Thursday.
The stakes were high.
If either field goal missed the mark, the entire roster would have to endure a team conditioning test during the second half of practice.
With the entire team watching in silence, Fry and Pineiro nailed their kicks, and Nagy abruptly ended practice and sent everyone home for summer break.
“We put a little heat — shocking — on the kickers for conditioning for the team,” Nagy said. “They both nailed two 40-yarders down the middle, so our guys got out of gassers, which was nice. So if you heard any cheering, that’s why.
“It was a win for them today. And then the cool thing was that I kind of got ahead of myself and I said, ‘You wanna go double or nothing for the start of training camp?’ I thought they’d balk but they hawked me down and wanted more, and the two kickers were the first to jump at it and say, ‘Let’s go.’ So that was good.
“They called my bluff. But they’re running when we get back [to training camp].”
Fry and Pineiro rebounded after a sluggish start to minicamp.
On Tuesday, the Bears missed all three kicks at the end of practice in front of the entire team and approximately 25 ex-players who were on hand to watch the workout. The next day, the Bears cut kicker Chris Blewitt, narrowing the field to two kickers.
Nagy said Wednesday that the club would leave all options open over the summer as the search to replace veteran kicker Cody Parkey continues.
Chicago cut Parkey after he misfired on eight kicks last year, including a heartbreaking, double-doink, 43-yard miss at the end of the Bears’ home playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Parkey’s decision to appear on a national television morning show just days after his fateful miss expedited his release.