For the first time in two years, the Bears figure to play without placekicker Robbie Gould on Thursday night.
Gould was declared doubtful with a right quad injury Wednesday, and the Bears signed 38-year-old kicker Jay Feely to take his place against the Cowboys.
In 13 seasons with the Falcons (2001-04), Giants (2005-06), Dolphins (2007), Jets (2008-09) and Cardinals (2010-13), Feely made 82.7 percent of his field goals and all but two of his extra points.
He was cut by the Cardinals in August, having missed three kicks inside the 40-yard line the year before.
“Honored to sign with the Bears this morning,” Feely wrote in a Tweet. “I grew up watching and cheering for Walter Payton and had a signed picture of him on my wall.”
Punter Pat O’Donnell kicked in practice Tuesday, but both the rookie and coach Marc Trestman were optimistic Gould could play Thursday.
The Feely signing, though, proves otherwise.
O’Donnell performed kickoffs in college, and could do the same Thursday night if the Bears deem him a better choice than Feely.
Starting trio questionable
After holding Alshon Jeffery out of practice with a hamstring injury Tuesday, Trestman characterized the move as precautionary. However, the wide receiver was one of three starters declared questionable Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, who said he thought he would play against his former team, was ruled questionable with the knee injury that kept him out of the Lions game.
Safety Chris Conte, who suffered an eye injury one week ago, is also questionable.
Bennett on Witten
Martellus Bennett said this week that, while he respects Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, the two “didn’t have the best relationship” when he was Witten’s backup from 2008-11.
“Because I was the young bull,” he said. “Every single year, there’s a lion coming out of college. And every single year, there’s an old butt in the NFL who’s the gazelle. And every single morning the gazelle wakes up, and the gazelle has to run, because otherwise the lion catches it.
“Every single day the lion wakes up and chases the gazelle. In that situation I was the lion. I didn’t catch the gazelle, though. I had to go to another jungle.”
This and that
• To make room for Feely, the Bears waived injured returner Chris Williams.
• Linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring) was ruled out, while defensive end Cornelius Washington (chest) was called doubtful.