BOURBONNAIS, Ill — The loudest cheers came from the more than 8,000 fans in attendance on Sunday’s afternoon for Bears training camp when Eddy Pineiro came onto the field to kick. This is what battle that they are eagerly and anxiously waiting to see.
Knowing the team desperately needs to fill its void at kicker, his teammate Elliott Fry set the tone Saturday at camp and understanding the team’s recent history as it regards to this position, Pineiro knew what was at stake. He then kicked six field goals in a row, nailing them all, showing he too is worthy to be the Bears, next kicker.
“Yeah, I felt it,” Pineiro said. “You think about it. I mean, you feel it. You know you gotta come out and do better than the next guy. The goal is being better than the next guy. That’s why like I said, he said 60, I’m going 63. I’m not going 60.”
Pineiro watched Fry wow the crowd on Saturday and the competition was on. He knew if he wanted this job that he would have to excel and do just as well, if not better than Fry.
Pineiro would finish the day making 7 of his 8, field goal tries. He completed his first six ranging from 33 to 50 yards. However, he would miss a 53-yarder going wide to the right. To not only redeem himself, but to one-up Fry, he stepped back and nailed a 63 yarder.
“Yeah, mentally you’re like okay, I just went right a little bit the wind pushed a little bit. Now, I have to hit a little more left. And, it’s how you bounce back after a miss. That’s the most important part,” Pineiro said.
Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy has spoken in great detail about the importance of having a kicker that he can rely on, in the past. After Pineiro’s performance, Nagy is enjoying the competitive spirit amongst the kickers.
“Yeah, that was great,” Nagy said. “He was 7-of-8, I think. He did miss a 53, but he came back and followed up with dealer’s choice and he fired away with 63 and hit it. So again, those guys are competing. How do you not love two kickers battling for one spot competing their tails off after everything that has going on with our team and our city? I appreciate that.”