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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Toub: 'A reason' Bears tried out 4 punters

By Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub said he was pleased with how Adam Podlesh punted the ball during Thursday's practice, but acknowledged the veteran "is in kind of a slump right now."

Adam Podlesh
Adam Podlesh is 30th in the NFL, averaging 41.7 yards per punt.
Through nine games, Podlesh is 30th in the NFL with an average of 41.7 yards per kick and No. 21 with a net average of 38.4. He had three punts of under-40 yards in the club's 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans, although one of the kicks was downed at the Texans' 3-yard line.

The Bears worked out four free agent punters (Spencer Lanning, Ryan Quigley, Chas Henry and Ryan Tydlacka) on Wednesday but did not sign any of them to a contract.

"When you are bringing guys in there is a reason you are bringing guys in," Toub said. "You want to know for the emergency list, No. 1, but like I said this is a performance-based business and everybody knows you need to perform at a high level. And if you don't, you have to as a coach and as a team explore other options that are out there. You have to know who is available if we do make a change."

Podlesh signed a five-year, $10 million contract with the Bears before the 2011 season after spending his first four years in the league in Jacksonville. Podlesh got off to a good start his first season in Chicago when he set a Bears' franchise record with a net punting average of 40.4 yards, but he suffered a hip flexor injury early in the 2012 preseason that caused him to miss several weeks leading up the regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bears carried a second punter, rookie Quigley, on the 53-man roster in Week 1, but Podlesh returned in time to punt against the Colts and Quigley was waived the following day.

"Podlesh is fine. He understands this a performance-based business that we are in, and we brought guys in just to see where they are at right now," Toub said. "Because a lot of those guys haven't punted in possibly 10 weeks, so we brought a bunch of young players in to see if they had been staying in shape. It could be a motivational thing, but we needed to survey the scene to see who is out there.

"There is no injury. I think he is over what we had. As far as his performance, he is kind of in a slump right now. We're trying to battle through it, and he had a real good practice today, so we are encouraged."

Podlesh declined to comment about his situation prior to Thursday's practice.