LAKE FOREST – The kicking position for the Bears is a sensitive topic with fans.
This has been the case since Robbie Gould was unceremoniously released before the 2016 season. Since then, a group of kickers has come through Halas Hall, unable to earn the full trust of the team.
The most recent is the most painful, as Cody Parkey smacked the upright on six kicks this past season, including a potential game-winning field goal in the Wild Card playoff loss to the Eagles. That moment has led to his release from the team despite having a contract that guaranteed him $9 million.
So when the Bears announced they signed kicker Chris Blewitt, one obvious thing stood out to fans: his name.
We have signed kicker Chris Blewitt.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 7, 2019
It’s not just the spelling – Blewitt is actually pronounced “blew it.” Considering the team’s recent terrible luck with kickers, many fans naturally had a strong gut reaction to the signing.
During four years with the Panthers, Blewitt hit 69.6 percent of his 79 field goals, and during his senior season that percentage dropped when he made 10 of 17. He finished as the school’s all-time leader in kick scoring, field goals and extra points.
And when Pittsburgh need him, Blewitt was there in one of their biggest moments of the past decade.
On November 12, 2016, Pittsburgh played the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers on the road. With his team down by two points, and with only seconds to go in the game, Blewitt came on the field.
He’d had a field goal blocked earlier in the game, and would need to hit one from 48 yards out for the win. Blewitt calmly stepped up and nailed the kick, giving Pittsburgh a stunning 43-42 victory, and handing the Tigers their only loss of the year.
The former Pittsburgh kicker wasn’t in the league the last two seasons, but earned a shot to try out for the job thanks to a workout at Halas Hall.
The Bears discovered Blewitt at a Kohl’s Kicking Pro Combine, brought him in for a workout, and now have him in camp to compete for the position. Right now, he’s competing with fellow free agent Redford Jones, with more competition likely to come.
While his name might catch fans off guard, Blewitt didn’t do that during his moment in the spotlight. Perhaps he’ll get the chance to convert when the Bears face another situation as they did in the Wild Card game this past January.