The Curse of Robbie Gould gets Bears’ Eddy Pineiro as kicker stress returns

Barth. Santos. Parkey. Nugent. Pineiro. And maybe a new guy Monday. It has been a parade of kickers for the Bears since they parted ways with Gould.

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Gould’s departure has haunted the Bears for four years, and he made a game-winning kick against them at Soldier Field in 2017.

For a moment, irrepressibly sunny Bears coach Matt Nagy ventured into the cynical land where the rest of us live and imagined an alternate reality in which Eddy Pineiro missed the last-second field goal against the Broncos.

‘‘If you don’t make that kick . . . think about the story we have right now,’’ he said. ‘‘I mean, it’s different. You’re 0-2. You have a kicker who didn’t make the kick. All the blame goes there.’’

The Bears are always on the brink of confronting their sorest subject, and The Curse of Robbie Gould hangs over the franchise three years after general manager Ryan Pace cut him.

Pineiro’s blast vaporized the consternation for a few days, but the Bears are back on edge as they wait to see whether his right knee will be healthy enough to kick Monday against the Redskins. He traveled Sunday with the team, which was required to disclose if he hadn’t.

Is it too crazy to see whether Cody Parkey can catch a flight to Washington? For this team, yes. But the Bears could consider Elliott Fry, the runner-up to Pineiro in the endless string of offseason auditions. Greg Joseph, who kicked for the Browns last season, is also worth a look.

If they pluck someone from free agency, the new kicker would be their sixth since the end of the 2015 season. The other 31 NFL teams have used an average of 2.8 kickers during that span.

Gould, meanwhile, is the most successful kicker in franchise history, and no one has been more accurate since the Bears dumped him. He has made 94.6 percent of his field-goal tries, including 33-for-36 from 40 yards or longer.

The Bears might have entertained a reunion while they cycled through prospects, but the 49ers ponied up with an extension.

While the ongoing tryouts drew laughs and scoffs, they were basically a continuation of the search triggered by Gould’s exit.

Connor Barth had one modest season, then got cut in Week 11 of 2017 when he blew a late 46-yarder that would have tied a game. It was his fifth miss in 16 tries.

Never fear, Cairo Santos is here. That lasted about a week before he went on injured reserve, and the Bears turned to Mike Nugent.

Nugent made all four of his field-goal attempts in December, then signed with the Raiders.

And then came Parkey.

All this tumult has come at a position that is theoretically one of the easiest to fill because of the surplus of qualified candidates.

When is it ever going to feel normal again?

The simplest way to stabilize the Bears’ kicking woes would seem to be identifying a proven pro still in his prime and pay whatever it takes to sign him, but they already tried that with Parkey.

What they really wanted was to find and develop another Gould, and that quest led them to Pineiro: a spunky 24-year-old with deep range and a fearless disposition that resonated throughout the locker room.

And it worked. Amazingly.

Pineiro’s 53-yard field goal enlivened the Bears, and it felt like closure after months of agonizing over the double-doink. His teammates roared as Nagy gave him the game ball, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted, ‘‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have a kicker!’’ and Pineiro taped a Snickers commercial at Halas Hall the next day.

It went sideways five days later. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the break because the Bears’ kicker stress is back.

‘‘With us and what we’ve been through and what he just did this past weekend, it’s like we’re on a roll here,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And then all of a sudden something crazy like this happens.’’

The Bears have until 3 p.m. Monday to decide whether they need to sign someone. And even if the injured Pineiro gives it a shot, everyone will hold their breath on every kick.

At least they’re used to it.

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