The Bears sign another specialist, this time Pat O’Donnell, ahead of the start of a new NFL year

Bears Report

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 08: Pat O’Donnell #16 of the Chicago Bears punts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field on October 08, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Bucs 20-19. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST – At the moment, Bears’ fans are waiting on every single alert when it comes to the NFL’s offseason ahead of the start of a new year.

Could a new quarterback be on the way to Chicago in a major trade? Could it be Russell Wilson or even Deshaun Watson? Maybe another signal caller will find his way to the Windy City to try and fill a role that’s been a question mark for the franchise for generations.

But as of Friday night, that hasn’t happened. News alerts so far in free agency have mainly been dealing with those who come on the field after the offense leaves it on a given drive.

This time it was punter Pat O’Donnell, who signed a one-year contract with the team on Friday afternoon. He does so just a day after place kicker Cairo Santos inked a three-year contract extension with the team after a record-breaking 2020 season.

As one of the few holdovers on the team from the Phil Emery era, O’Donnell will be entering his eighth season with the team. Drafted in the sixth round in 2014, he’s been the primary punter for the team the entire time, averaging 45 yards in 502 career attempts, putting 181 inside the 20 (36%).

In the 2020 season, O’Donnell averaged 45.7 yards on 64 punts with 28 of them landing inside the 20-yard line (44%).

The 2021 NFL year begins on March 17th.


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