- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- There used to be a theory floating around that Bears kicker Robbie Gould lacked the necessary leg strength to connect on field goals of 50-plus yards. The truth of the matter is that former Bears head coach Lovie Smith simply preferred to play the field position game and turn his powerful defense loose on opponents pinned deep inside their own territory, rather than let Gould kick the ball from 50-yards out.
Gould was given the opportunity to try just two kicks from 50-plus yards (0-for-2) from 2005-2008, but in the last four-plus seasons he’s made 14-of-16 from that distance, including 10 straight dating back to December, 2010.
The former All-Pro, who looks to be completely recovered from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured semitendinosus tendon that forced him to miss the final three games of last year, nailed a 58-yard field goal in the Bears’ 24-21 Week 1 victory over the Bengals -- the longest field goal in franchise history and the most prodigious kick ever made by an NFL kicker in the city of Chicago.
“It’s pretty cool when you get a chance to make a play and help your team out,” Gould said. “The record means a lot because it’s obviously a big year for me. I’m pretty excited about how hard I worked to get back to where I am. To get a chance to go out there in the first week and to have the coaching staff show that kind of confidence in me to hit it is pretty special.”
The fourth-most accurate kicker in league history, Gould is the Bears’ second all-time leading scorer with 908 points, trailing only former kicker Kevin Butler (1,116). If Gould continues to play for the Bears beyond the 2013 season (his contract is set to expire after the year) he would likely hold all of the Bears’ kicking and scoring records before the end of his career.
“My goal is to try and be as consistent as I can every single day of the week,” Gould said. Whatever is going to happens is going to happen. If I leave here with a legacy that’s a pretty high standard for the next guy that comes in here whenever my career is over – that’s kind of my goal. Obviously, I want to stay here forever. I want to have some fun doing it and hopefully help them along the way.”