The Bears will use their third kicker in four weeks Sunday when Mike Nugent faces his former team, the Bengals.
Nugent worked out for the Bears on Monday and was signed late in the day. He’ll replace Cairo Santos, who went on injured reserve one day after he was limited to extra points against the 49ers and available for only short-yardage field-goal tries, which never came.
Santos tweaked his groin during warmups. He had spent most of the last two months rehabbing a similar injury before signing with the Bears two weeks ago.
Nugent, 35, went 7-for-9 with the Cowboys this year while filling in for injured Dan Bailey. He began his career with the Jets before splitting 2009 between the Cardinals and Buccaneers and then spending seven years with the Bengals.
Guard Kyle Long might have played his final snap of the season, coach John Fox conceded. Long left in the second quarter Sunday with a shoulder injury.
“I don’t want to say yes, [but] I don’t want to say no at this point,” Fox said.
Long’s recent injury history could factor into whether the Bears rush him back. He had ankle surgery last offseason, with pain lasting into the season. Between recovering from that and fighting a gruesome finger injury suffered against the Saints, he has played 62.7 percent of the snaps this season.
The Bears may have to add an outside linebacker, too, after Pernell McPhee left with a shoulder injury during the 49ers’ first offensive drive. The Bears played the rest of the game with only two outside linebackers — veterans Sam Acho and Lamarr Houston. Fox said McPhee had tests Monday and should have more Tuesday.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller, whose fifth-year option the Bears elected not to pick up, wouldn’t rule out returning via free agency in March.
Fuller, who had his first interception since 2015 on Sunday, said he’s trying not to think about how his surprising season could earn him a solid paycheck on the open market.
“I don’t think about it too much — I’m just going out there to perform,” he said. “Those things do come with it. I’m just focusing on trying to do my best, every week, every game.”
This and that
Fox, who called tight end Adam Shaheen “a good young player that we definitely like,” had an unusual reason for giving him only nine snaps Sunday.
“You know it’s hard to get a lot of playing time when you have 37 plays,” he said. “I think Markus Wheaton got one play — you know, he’s a guy that we’d like to look at a little bit more. It just, you know, it didn’t materialize that way.”
• Rookie Tarik Cohen ran 127.4 yards on his 61-yard punt return for a TD, per NFL NextGen Stats.
• Linebacker Isaiah Irving, who went on injured reserve Saturday, won’t need knee surgery, Fox said.
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