By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — A day after being very outspoken on his radio show about the Bears’ decision not to hand out extensions during the season, kicker Robbie Gould clarified his stance, but maintained that he will test the free agent market following the 2013 season.
After his radio comments made headlines nationally, Gould initially breezed by reporters at Olivet Nazarene University Thursday while complaining about how articles were written from a transcript of the interview and didn’t capture the tone of the conversation. Minutes later, he came back and decided to clarify his stance.
“I don’t have any hard feelings, so I don’t know where this is all coming from,” Gould said. “Yesterday on the radio show that I did, I didn’t have any ill will toward (general manger) Phil Emery or the Bears organization.”
Gould is entering the final year of a six-year contract and reached out to the Bears two weeks ago about an extension. He didn’t get one.
“The deal’s not really in my hands and I’m really not too worried about it to be honest with you,” Gould said.
But that’s hard to believe when he admitted he now has a chip on his shoulder and is already talking about testing the market in the offseason.
“It’s going to depend on what the market brings,” he said. “I think if you look at guys that are going to be on the market with me, it’s a good situation for me to be in. If I go out and have a good season, why not test the market and see what happens?”
Gould ruptured a tendon in his leg late last season and had surgery in the offseason to repair it. Meanwhile, the Bears brought in competition with kicker Austin Signor, which they haven’t done in recent seasons.
“Whatever is going to happen is going to happen,” Gould said. “I worked my butt off to get to where I’m at today, especially coming back from an injury and a pretty big surgery. I think I’ve showed the organization, I think I’ve showed myself, that I’m ready to play and play at the high level that I’ve always played at.”
But that doesn’t mean the Bears are ready to reinvest in a kicker coming off a significant injury before he proves in a game that he can still play at a high level. Even if it means they have to pay more at the end of the season.
“I mean obviously whenever you do a deal early, you’re going to take a little less money,” Gould said. “I’m happy to be a Bear. I want to be a Bear the rest of my life, but if they don’t want to do that, then when the timing is right then I’m going to have move on. That’s just a part of football. I’m not going to be here forever, I mean I get that. I understand that.”
In the meantime, he’s talking a big game for this season.
“I’ve done a great job to this point trying to be the best at my position to ever play the game and that’s what I’m focused on doing and no one is going to get in my way of doing that,” Gould said.
The kicker said he wants to break records and win championships and he hopes to do so in a Bears jersey.
“That’s why I asked to renegotiate two weeks ago. I’m not focused on it, but you know what, I’m playing for a deal. I’m playing to feed my family.”
Gould said he’d still be open to getting a deal done now, but he understands that it probably won’t happen with the Bears up against the current cap. In his words, “They don’t have any money. There isn’t the ability to get a deal done.”
In the meantime, that’s going to be leave Gould very hungry this season.
“I always play better with a chip on my shoulder. I spent the last five weeks trying to find it and I found it. I’m ready to go.”
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.