3 things we learned from the Chicago Bears, including Robbie Gould’s retirement and DJ Moore on wanting Justin Fields to stay

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Chicago Bears coordinators spoke with reporters Thursday at Halas Hall as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Here are three things we learned.

1. Special teams coordinator Richard Hightower congratulated kicker Robbie Gould on ‘a hell of a career.’

Gould, 41, announced his retirement Thursday after 18 NFL seasons in a letter in The Players’ Tribune. He’s the Bears’ all-time leading scorer with 1,207 points in 166 games over his first 11 seasons.

He also played one season with the New York Giants and spent the last six years of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, playing for current Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower.

“Great competitor. Clutch in big moments when we needed him to be. Consistent,” Hightower said. “(He) means a lot to the city of Chicago. … Wishing him the best in the next phase of his life. And I know if he attacks that the way he attacked his career, he’s going to be super successful at that as well.”

Gould made 86.5% of his career field-goal attempts and 97.5% of his extra-point attempts in the regular season. He ranks eighth in NFL history with 447 field goals and 10th with 1,961 points.

He never missed a kick in the postseason (29 field goals, 39 extra points) and played in two Super Bowls with the Bears and 49ers but didn’t get a win.

In his letter, Gould said his favorite kick came in January 2022 in a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. He made a 45-yarder as time expired to send the 49ers to the NFC championship game, which Hightower called “a special moment.”

“To hit a huge kick like that, on the big stage, to continue my streak of never missing a kick in the playoffs and to also make all of Chicago happy in the process by taking down its rival?” Gould wrote. “It was the best of both worlds.”

An undrafted free agent out of Penn State, Gould received the call to join the Bears while working a construction job in Pennsylvania in 2005. He went on to become a key figure on some of the better Bears teams of this century and ranked 74th on the Tribune’s 2019 list of the 100 best Bears players.

Gould’s time with the Bears came to an end in 2016 when former general manager Ryan Pace cut him before the season. While Gould went on to have two of the best seasons of his career in San Francisco, the Bears struggled to find a reliable kicker for years after that until Cairo Santos arrived in 2020.

But despite the rough ending to their marriage, Gould spoke in his letter of his love for the team and the city.

“From start to finish, I loved everything about my time in Chicago,” Gould said. “Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo created a team-first culture by assembling a locker room full of future Hall of Famers. To be able to go to work every day surrounded by guys like Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs and dozens of other first-rate guys — it was the best football home imaginable. We had some deep playoff runs, and we made a ton of memories.

“The McCaskey family gave me the opportunity to live out my childhood dream, and it was an honor to play for them. Ultimately, I hope that we made Bears fans proud. They deserve it.”

2. DJ Moore said of Justin Fields: ‘We want him here.’

Moore was asked about how Fields has handled the speculation about his future in Chicago.

Fields addressed the topic of the Bears potentially moving on at quarterback Wednesday, saying he is “just focused on what I can control, and the rest is in God’s hands.”

Moore, who has 70 catches for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns through 12 games, offered a similar sentiment.

“You really can’t do too much but go out there and be yourself, and he’s a dynamic player, dynamic quarterback,” Moore said. “We want him here. I’ve been having a great year with him, so that should speak volumes. Just leave what they do upstairs, upstairs at the end of the day.”

Despite the offense’s inconsistency this season, Fields and Moore haven’t had trouble connecting. Moore is on pace to have the best season of his career. His high was 1,193 receiving yards in 2020.

“It’s just being on the same page with him week in and week out as best I can,” Moore said. “And when he scrambles, get open and just doing what I do after I catch the ball.”

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Fields has brought the same passion and leadership every day, in spite of the speculation about his job.

“He’s an extremely humble young man that has purpose and passion,” Getsy said. “The consistency that we bring into the room every single day, he takes that and leads that as much as anybody.

“That’s extremely important that he stays that way — the kind of man he is first, but the kind of teammate he is no matter what the circumstances are.”

3. After suffering post-traumatic amnesia after the Bears game, Carolina Panthers tight end Hayden Hurst returned to practice this week.

Hurst posted on social media Thursday that he suffered a “nasty concussion” against the Bears on Nov. 9, apparently when his head hit the ground after a fourth-quarter Jaquan Brisker tackle.

Hurst said he doesn’t remember up to four hours after the game and called it “a scary situation.” Hurst’s father posted Wednesday that Hurst was diagnosed with post-traumatic amnesia.

“While it was scary, it is NOT career ending,” Hurst wrote. “I’m starting my return to play this week, so fingers crossed I make it back for the last few weeks! God Bless & Keep Pounding!!!!”

Hurst missed the last three games and has been limited in practice this week.


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