Why Bears kicker Cody Parkey is best in NFL at onside kicks

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Bears kicker Cody Parkey reacts after kicking a field goal against the New York Giants. | Seth Wenig/AP photo

There’s no better onside-kick man in the NFL than the Bears’ Cody Parkey.

In the last three years, he has been successful on six onside kicks in nine tries.

During that same span, every other kicker in the league has had 17 successful onside kicks combined.

“We practice them a lot, and I take pride in that,” Parkey said Thursday. “A lot of luck. A lot of skill. And a lot of just . . . our guys making a good play. And sometimes their team making a bad play.’’

With 1:13 to play Sunday, Parkey, who was attempting his first onside kick as a Bear, kicked a low, bouncing ball to his right that was recovered by tight end Daniel Brown. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hesitated for a second to enter the scrum.

“You gotta be able to have touch and control,” Parkey said. “And sometimes you just need to get a lucky bounce.”

Dating to last year, Parkey has succeeded on five of six attempts.

“Some guys,” special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor said, “have a knack for it.”

Some kickers try the same type of kick every time, but Parkey said he has up to five different kinds, from high-hoppers to low-bouncers. They’re whittled down during the week based on scouting reports. The Bears enter games with three options and decide which to run based on how the opponent lines up.

It’s a skill, Parkey said, that he hopes he doesn’t have to show off. With the exception of a rare surprise kick, most teams attempting an onside kick do so out of desperation.

“Hopefully we can keep that statistic going,” he said, “but hopefully we don’t have to use one again.”

Burton for Man of the Year

Tight end Trey Burton was named the Bears’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. This season, he pledged $1,000 per catch and $2,500 per touchdown to International Justice Mission, which works to eliminate human trafficking.


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He said that being active in charities was one reason he wanted to join the Bears.

“I knew there were issues that we could do or things we could do in the city and the community,” he said.

This and that

Safety Deon Bush (hamstring) didn’t practice Thursday, but the Bears’ special-teams units got some good news. Cornerback Sherrick McManis (hamstring) and running back Benny Cunningham (ankle), who were limited Wednesday, practiced in full.

u Parkey is continuing his treks to Soldier Field to practice for home games. He went downtown Wednesday night and said the session went well.

u Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who joked last week that the best way to stop Beckham was to go to Mass on Saturday night, said he’ll do the same before facing the Rams juggernaut.

“I can’t give up, right?” he said. “For sure, I’ll be there.”

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