LAKE FOREST – The Bears won’t have the services of their top kicker for at least the first three games of the 2020 season.
On Tuesday, the Bears placed Eddy Pineiro on IR as he deals with a groin injury that’s been limiting him the last few weeks at training camp.
Per the new NFL guidelines with Injured Reserve, Pineiro will be eligible to return to the lineup quicker than in the past. He can be activated by the Bears as early as Week 4.
Now the Bears will turn to Cairo Santos to kick for at least the next three games. He’s currently on the practice squad and will likely be elevated to the active roster in the next 24 hours. It will be the kicker’s second stint with the Bears having been with the team briefly in November and December of 2017.
This is a rough start to the second year for Pineiro, who emerged as the winner of a very crowded Bears’ kicking competition in the spring and summer of 2019. From rookie to training camp, the competition got plenty of attention after Cody Parkey’s struggles in 2018, including hitting the upright and crossbar in the infamous “double-doink” miss in a Wild Card loss to the Eagles.
Pineiro did well to establish himself early in the season, and hit a 53-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bears their first win of the season against the Broncos. He hit nine of his first ten kicks of the season in September and October, but missed a potential game-winning kick in a loss to the Chargers on October 27th.
After not attempting a field goal in the next two games, Pineiro missed two first quarter field goals in a loss to the Rams but collected himself after that. He’d hit the final eleven field goals he attempted to finish 23-for-28 in that category for the season.
Any hopes for improvement on that performance, however, will have to wait at least three weeks for the kicker as the 2020 season begins without him.