Coach Matt Nagy claimed the Bears didn’t cut Chris Blewitt on Wednesday — less than 48 hours before the team leaves for a five-week break — specifically to send a message to their two remaining kickers. Or, for that matter, to the 88 other players who watched all three kickers miss the same 42-yard chip shot during practice Tuesday.
But consider the message sent.
“That wasn’t the intention,” Nagy said after a mandatory minicamp practice. “But at the same time, that’s what they see. That’s what our team sees.”
What they saw Wednesday was better. Eddy Pineiro made a 53-yarder in front of the team during “Augusta Quiet,” in which players stay golf-silent to ramp up the pressure. Elliott Fry made a 53-yarder to end practice but only after missing the same kick a few minutes earlier after being “iced” by a defensive timeout.
When each kicker made a 45-yarder beforehand, the quiet turned celebratory. The loudspeakers inside the Payton Center played “Return of the Mack,” the ’90s hit that doubles as the Bears’ salute to outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
Nagy conceded that cutting Blewitt put more stress on the other two kickers.
“When they’re put in a similar situation as [they were Tuesday] and knowing what happened [to Blewitt], then you understand that it naturally just creates more pressure,” Nagy said. “Any human’s going to feel that way.
“I was proud of those guys for being able to bounce back and then make those kicks.”
But the uncomfortable fact remains: The Bears will leave for their summer break Thursday, more than five months after Cody Parkey sealed his fate by double-doinking a potential playoff game-winner, and don’t appear to be any closer to finding their Week 1 kicker.
It’s likely their starter isn’t on the roster yet.
Meanwhile, their all-time leading scorer, Robbie Gould, is training in Chicago after he was a no-show for the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp. Gould has yet to sign the 49ers’ franchise tag, which would pay him $4.97 million in 2019, and has requested a trade. The 49ers are unlikely to oblige.
Gould, who would like to play closer to home, wants to stay in Chicago long past retirement. He sold his five-bedroom, five-bathroom Kildeer home last week for $1 million, according to Zillow.com, but built a house and plans to stay in the area.
Nagy didn’t dismiss the notion that the Bears could pursue a kicker beyond the two they have on the roster.
“Here’s what I’ll say: We’re always going to be put in a position where if we don’t feel like we have the answer, we’re always going to look,” Nagy said. “We’re going to do that with every player. . . . Those guys, we’re going to have them compete. They know that right now. Our own kickers know that. They need to win the job.
“At the same time, they realize that we got to keep evaluating them. And [Tuesday], yeah, it wasn’t a good day. They know that. It doesn’t take much to see that, and they want to be better. But they’ll be better. . . .
“We’re going to keep moving with this thing and let them know that we’re going to keep supporting them. But, in the end, it’s about production. So with every position, we’re always going to try to stay open.”
One player who won’t kick for the Bears: running back Tarik Cohen, who playfully tried a 23-yarder in practice. He hit it so low and far left that he’s lucky no one was standing beyond the end zone.
Nagy was annoyed by the attempt — he doesn’t want position players horsing around — but curious.
“Did he make it?” Nagy said.
It wasn’t close.
“That’s from the 13-yard line! Jeez,” Nagy said with a smile. “That’s embarrassing.
‘‘I’m going to get on him for that. That’s not good.
‘‘But he shouldn’t be doing it.”