, Ill. (AP) ¡ª As the ball hit the upright and crossbar, Robbie Gould could imagine how Cody Parkey felt. The Chicago Bears¡® breakthrough season came to a crushing conclusion, particularly for their embattled kicker.¡°I¡¯ve been there,¡± he said. ¡°I¡¯ve missed game-winning kicks, too.¡±Parkey¡¯s miss off the left upright and crossbar in the closing seconds of a 16-15 wild-card loss to Philadelphia at home turned out to be his final attempt as a member of the Bears. A person familiar with the situation said Friday that the Bears have decided to release him. That figures to fuel more speculation about Gould returning to Chicago.He¡¯s scheduled to become a free agent on March 13. The Bears need a kicker. And the million dollar ¡ª or multimillion dollar ¡ª question is whether they will bring back their career scoring leader.¡°The McCaskey family (owners) changed my family¡¯s life,¡± said Gould, who watched from a suite at Soldier Field with his wife and three young sons as the Bears lost to the Eagles. ¡°They gave us a lot of great opportunities in one of the greatest sports cities you¡¯ll ever find. I¡¯m thankful that they gave me that opportunity. I¡¯ll be forever thankful. My kids will be raised Bears fans. This is home.¡±Gould spoke Friday at the Chicago Golf Show. He is promoting a software system called Eventlify that helps organizers manage all aspects of golf events.Gould converted more than 85 percent of his field goals and missed just four of his 383 extra points as a member of the Bears from 2005-15. He amassed 1,207 points before general manager Ryan Pace and former coach John Fox let him go just before the start of the 2016 season.In the three years since he has combined to make 82 of 85 field goals for the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. Chicago kickers, by comparison, are 57 of 75 in that span.Parkey simply didn¡¯t give the Bears the consistency they¡¯ve been seeking since letting Gould go. Signed to a four-year contract last March, he made 23 of 30 field goals for the third-lowest conversion rate in the NFL. He was 42 of 45 on extra points. Six of his misses, counting the playoffs, hit uprights. And he didn¡¯t endear himself to the team¡¯s hierarchy by appearing on the ¡°Today¡± show a few days after that playoff loss, a move coach Matt Nagy referred to as ¡°a ¡®me¡¯ thing.¡±Gould might command a rather high price, particularly if the 49ers place the franchise tag on him.¡°They have the opportunity to get a contract done with me,¡± he said. ¡°Obviously Womens Bryce Callahan Jersey
, they have exclusive rights to talk to me until free agency opens. There¡¯s no reason not to. ¡ At this point, I¡¯m just enjoying being around my kids and not really worried about the football contract.¡±Gould insisted he has no hard feelings toward the Bears for letting him go. He was shaky in the 2016 preseason after missing six field goals the previous year to match a career high he set as a rookie. But he has been just about automatic the past three years thanks to some adjustments in his footwork. At 36, he plans to play ¡°until they tell me no.¡±Gould still lives in the Chicago area. His wife Lauren is from here. And in a few weeks, they plan to move into the house in the northwest suburbs built on property purchased just a few days before the Bears cut him.The Bears, meanwhile, went 12-4 to win the NFC North in Nagy¡¯s first season after four straight last-place finishes. Gould called him the ¡°perfect fit¡± for the organization. He mentioned the connection to Kansas City, where Nagy worked on Andy Reid¡¯s staff, and longtime Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub has served in the same role since 2013. And he said he also keeps in touch with current Chicago special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.¡°Once a Bear always a Bear,¡± he said. ¡°I truly mean that. This is where I spent 11 years of my life playing for an awesome organization. I¡¯ve developed a lot of great relationships throughout the city but also the organization, just like I¡¯ve done in New York, just like I¡¯ve done in San Francisco. Will it happen? I don¡¯t know.¡± David Montgomery used to draw inspiration watching highlights of Walter Payton on his grandfather's VCR, so consider this a moment of sweetness.The Chicago Bears addressed one of their biggest needs with their first pick in the draft, trading up with the New England Patriots to take the star running back from Iowa State on Friday night.Montgomery said he felt "grateful, blessed." And being drafted by Chicago was particularly special."I watched Walter Payton when I was younger," he said. "Seeing how he ran, trying to correlate a lot of the ways he ran into my game."Chicago moved up 14 spots to grab Montgomery at No. 73 overall Josh Bellamy Jersey
, making him the first Cyclones player drafted since 2014. The 5-foot-10, 222-pound Montgomery ran for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns in three seasons. He had 1,216 yards rushing and 13 TDs as a junior.Chicago also acquired a sixth-round pick (205), while New England got the No. 87 pick and a fifth-rounder (162) this year as well as a fourth-round selection in 2020."He's just a well-rounded back," general manager Ryan Pace said. "It's everything you look for in a running back, starting with his instincts, his vision, his ability to make people miss. He's just a well-rounded player. Good hands. He fits the offense very well."The Bears had a long wait with no picks in the first two rounds for the first time since 2010. They came into the draft in a far different spot after winning the NFC North at 12-4 in coach Matt Nagy's first season. The Monsters of the Midway ended a string of four straight last-place finishes and made the playoffs for just the second time since the 2006 team's Super Bowl run.They sent their first-round pick this year to Oakland in the blockbuster deal for All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack just before the start of last season. And they dealt their second-rounder to New England a year ago when they traded up to get receiver Anthony Miller in the second round.Montgomery is known as a calm, patient runner with size and toughness and a knack for breaking tackles. He ranked third in the Big 12 in yards rushing per game at 101.3 last season.Montgomery also had 71 receptions over three years despite playing in a run-based offense. And Pace sees someone with "natural hands" who can be a good route runner.His ability to catch passes out of the backfield is a big plus, considering Nagy's system favors running backs who can do just that.Howard's deficiencies in the passing game made him an odd fit and helped punch his ticket out of town, with the Bears trading him to Philadelphia in March. He went from making the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2016 and running for more than 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons to setting a career low with 935 last season. His 250 carries were also the fewest for him, though he still had more combined attempts than the other running backs currently on Chicago's roster ¡ª Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis, Taquan Mizzell Sr. and Ryan Nall. Even with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson expected to get some carries http://www.thebearslockerroom.com/authentic-anthony-miller-j ersey
, there still was room for another running back.In Montgomery, Pace believes the Bears will have an immediate contributor. As impressed as he was with his physical skills, something else stood out."There are incredible stories about his work ethic," Pace said. "Going up to the facility late at night and bringing teammates with him to watch additional tape and get extra work in. You just hear one thing after another about his professional approach to the game, how important it is to him and his work ethic is off the charts. And how infectious that was to the entire team there."Chicago heads into the final day of the draft with one pick each in the fourth and sixth rounds, plus two seventh-rounders.The Bears might look for help at tight end and the defensive backfield not to mention kicker, where they have a major hole. Chicago let Cody Parkey go after one rough season that ended with a double-doink miss off the upright and crossbar on a potential winning field goal at the end of the wild-card loss to Philadelphia. The Bears have three kickers with no experience ¡ª Redford Jones, Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry."Looking at the board right now and where we're at, I feel really good about the draft tomorrow (Saturday)," Pace said. "Like I said a couple of days ago, this is a very deep draft, especially in the later rounds and yeah, I think we're going to be able to hit a lot of good players tomorrow."