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Robbie Gould leaves the Bears with his head held high

Bears kicker Robbie Gould. (AP)

Robbie Gould spent the 48 hours after the Bears surprisingly released him mostly on the phone. The best kicker in franchise history had a long list of important people to call and thank as his memorable 11-year run with the Bears ended.

It included conversations with owner Virginia McCaskey, chairman George McCaskey and other. The talks provided Gould with opportunities to reminiscence about the good times.

“Those memories and those conversations helped me at a time I didn’t know [my release] was coming,” Gould said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“I literally was just trying to come here to try to fulfill a dream. I had zero idea that it would last in one organization for 11 years.”

Gould goes out with his head held high and without hard feelings. He appreciated the professionalism of general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox.

“They called me in late Sunday night, just sat down with me and told me it was about my performance and that they were going to make decision to go in a different direction,” said Gould, the Bears’ all-time leader in points at 1,207.

“I’m not bitter. I’m not mad. I’m not upset. I get the business of football. I’ve been a player [union] rep for nine years, and I understand it. I’ve seen guys come and go. It’s just part of being a player in the NFL.”

And he’s not done being one of those players. Teams already are vying for his services.

“I don’t know where it’s going to be,” said Gould, who is currently the ninth-most accurate kicker in NFL history. “We have teams and we have options. I’m going through the list of them and figuring out what’s important to me and my family and what really is the best fit moving forward.

“It will be different to put on a different color, for sure. But I’m excited about it. I’m excited for the next opportunity. I think a fresh start will be good for me and my career.”

Gould said he believes good things are ahead for the Bears, including new kicker Connor Barth.

“I know Connor personally.” Gould said. “He’s a great guy. He’s a great kicker. I think he’ll do well here.”

Gould plans to make Chicago his family’s permanent home, and he said he’ll always root for the Bears. He’s forever grateful for the opportunity they gave him when he signed 2005 and for all the memorable moments that occurred between then and his release.

“Obviously, it was a sad day that I’m leaving the Bears,” Gould said. “But that doesn’t override any of the memories that I have, the gratefulness and the generosity of the McCaskey family and the relationships that I have.”