Can Cody Parkey return after miss? ‘Glad I’m not the one making that decision’
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One day after his double-doink miss — a day that, for Bears kicker Cody Parkey, will live in ignominy — it’s fair to wonder whether he will get a chance to redeem himself as a member of the team.
‘‘Gosh,’’ cornerback Prince Amukamara said Monday, ‘‘I’m definitely glad I’m not the one making that decision.’’
The Bears owe Parkey $3.5 million next season whether he plays a down for them or not. And he’s only 10 months removed from signing a four-year, $15 million contract.
But by missing a 43-yard field goal with 10 seconds left that would have won the Bears’ wild-card game Sunday against the Eagles, Parkey has given general manager Ryan Pace another reason to swallow hard and move on. The Bears could look for a free-agent kicker in March if they decide to cut — and continue to pay — Parkey, who missed 11 kicks (eight field goals and three extra points) in his first season with them.
Parkey’s latest, most crushing miss officially was classified as a block Monday. Eagles defensive end Treyvon Hester tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage, though it was unclear how much that affected the trajectory of Parkey’s kick.
‘‘To make a joke of it, hitting the upright, it takes some accuracy,’’ Amukamara said. ‘‘He’s been hitting the upright. We know he wants to make it. I think I heard the ball was tipped. For whatever reason, it didn’t go in.’’
Receiver Allen Robinson said it wouldn’t be difficult for Parkey to stick around.
‘‘If you fast-forward, say, a year and four weeks and he makes a Super Bowl kick, it’s a lot different story,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘Time heals all wounds. Over time, there are going to be many opportunities for him to kick a lot more game-winning kicks.’’
Given the grief Parkey has received from fans, one could argue a change of scenery might be best for all parties.
Parkey wasn’t made available to the media during locker-cleanout day Monday, but Robinson was reminded by a questioner how cruel fans can be.
‘‘It’s a tough situation,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not ideal at all, but it is the game that we play. Unfortunately, on social media, every fan has a voice. But I have a lot of confidence in Parkey. I think he’ll be fine.
‘‘It’s not his last game. He’s going to have a lot of different opportunities to be able to make up for whatever he feels like he has to or whatever. He has a lot of football left, and there’s a lot of time.’’
Not this season. Bears players were quick to shoulder the blame in their own areas of play.
Amukamara cited his pass-interference penalty with about five minutes left in the third quarter. The Bears had only 10 defenders on the field on the next play, and the Eagles threw a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Bears missed tackles on the Eagles’ final scoring drive, too.
‘‘There’s a lot of stuff that happened,’’ Amukamara said. ‘‘It shouldn’t have come down to that. But you can’t predict how games end. I hate to say it, but that’s what we’re paid to do is to make those plays. And we’re not all going to make them when our number’s called. We have to put faith in Cody. And I believe if he were to kick it again, it would just go straight through.’’
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd said he gave Parkey a pat on the back in the locker room Sunday.
‘‘Words can’t make him feel better,’’ Floyd said.
Tight end Trey Burton, who considers Parkey one of his best friends, said Parkey was in decent spirits. He’s one of the best people on the team, Burton said.
‘‘I hate it for him,’’ he said.