For the sixth straight year — and maybe a seventh, too — Pat O’Donnell will handle the Bears’ punting duties. He signed a two-year, $4 million deal to stay with the team, sources confirmed Monday night. It marks the second time in as many years O’Donnell agreed to come back to the team that drafted him; he signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal last March.
O’Donnell, who also served as the holder on field-goal and PAT attempts, averaged 45 yards per punt last season, right on par with his career average of 44.9. He placed 28 kicks inside the 20-yard line, tying a career high. Perhaps his lowest moment, though, came in the Bears’ playoff game. He shanked a punt for 36 yards in the fourth quarter against the Eagles, giving them the ball at their 40. They marched and scored the game-winning touchdown.
O’Donnell was drafted in the sixth round by then-general manager Phil Emery in 2014 and promptly assumed the Bears’ starting-punter duties.
GM Ryan Pace said last month he thought the 28-year-old “punted well” last year.
ESPN first reported the deal.