Still available in NFL free agency, former 49ers kicker Robbie Gould wants to play for a winning team and wouldn’t mind rejoining the Bears in 2023.
It might not have received as much publicity as the San Francisco 49ers bidding farewell to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in NFL free agency.
But, turning the page on kicker Robbie Gould has to be another notable mark for the red and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2023 season.
Gould, 40 years old and coming off six seasons with the Niners, experienced some confrontational moments with San Francisco during his elongated tenure, including receiving a franchise tag and contract standoff that eventually led to a four-year deal signed in 2019 that paid him up to $19 million.
The 49ers didn’t want to go down that road again heading into the new season despite Gould’s success on the field.
Part of turning the page, the Niners traded with the Carolina Panthers for kicker Zane Gonzalez. And while the Gonzalez pickup doesn’t automatically rule out San Francisco from trying to upgrade at kicker, it pretty much indicates Gould won’t return in NFL free agency.
As such, he’s looking for a new home. And there’s one destination he’d probably prefer above the rest.
Robbie Gould would ‘love to win,’ would jump at opportunity to play with Bears again
Prior to joining the 49ers in 2017, Gould spent an elongated portion of his career with the Chicago Bears, stemming from his rookie season in 2005 through 2015 before being let go.
And some have argued how the Bears have had nothing but kicking struggles ever since that point.
Despite the snub, Gould has remained awfully loyal to the city of Chicago ever since. His family lives there during the offseason and even stayed there during his time with the 49ers, requiring him to “remote” it in Bay Area hotels during his Niners tenure.
Simply put, there’s been no hiding the love Gould has for Chicago.
So, would he want to return to a Bears team that is hopefully trending upward entering 2023? Absolutely.
Speaking from the PGA Tour Champions Invited Celebrity Classic, Gould told NFL.com:
"Obviously I want to play closer to home, that’s one of the big things that’s meant a lot to me, and we’re filtering through those opportunities, and waiting for the right time to be able to do that.I’d love to win if possible, so I’m kind of being a little picky with that, but at 40 years old and playing 18 years in the league, I think I’ve earned the ability to do that."
When asked if “closer to home” would include a team like the Bears, Gould didn’t mince any words.
“For sure,” Gould responded. “If they called and said, ‘Hey, we want you to play for us,’ I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
Still unsigned, Gould can hope the Bears front office reaches out to him here soon.