Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould went out near the end of last season with a ruptured tendon. That sounds pretty brutal, and it would be fully expected that it would take some time to heal.
Well, he was medically cleared to play a couple months ago, but as Derrick Rose would tell you, being medically cleared to play and actually being ready to play are two completely different things.
So it seems that Robbie Gould would be interested in getting out, getting on the field, and proving that he still has what it takes. He apparently doesn't feel that is necessary, as he approached the Bears about extending his contract earlier in July.
"At the end of the day, if you have all these guys [unsigned], they have to take care of No 1," Gould told ESPN 1000 co-hosts Jeff Dickerson and Michael C. Wright.
That makes perfect sense. This comment, of course, is coming after general manager Phil Emery stated on Wednesday that he would not be pursuing in-season contract extensions with players in 2013.
It's understandable why Robbie Gould would feel this way, to some degree. He would like the security of knowing where he's going to play and knowing that he's got a job for a little while longer. At the same time, though, he's coming off an injury at a position that players lately have seemed to just lose the knack quickly.
The problem is, for this author at least, is that Gould's actual arguments make no sense. Let's take a quick look at two things he said:
"If they were smart they would try to get their core group of players and re-sign them before the end of the year and try to make it work, but a lot of us are sitting in a great position. You might see a lot of guys exit the Bears, [so] this year has to be pretty special, because if it doesn’t go as well as planned I can see them completely rebuilding. Or they might find a couple guys they think is their core group and get rid of some of the other higher-paid guys."
Functionally, yes, that is correct. However, why is that necessarily Robbie Gould's concern?
"I'm not too worried about it if they will re-sign me or not because I have all the leverage," he said. "If they don't want to re-sign me now it's going to cost them double at the end of the year.
My follow up question to Gould would be -- why wouldn't you want all the leverage? In this very article, you have mentioned that you think you will be the most sought-after place-kicker on the free-agent market in 2014. This despite not having played a down in 2013.
"Let me put it to you this way," Gould said. "If they wanted a guy, they’re going to find a way to sign him if it meant that much to them."
Yes, Emery's strategy this year is high-risk, but it's been shown that they don't have a lot of cash to work with--and Gould's deal isn't the kind of team-friendly extension/restructure that other players could be. It doesn't mean they're trying to disrespect Gould to any degree. They just have a plan, and they're sticking with it.
These statements feel like an attempt to paint a picture for the general public early in the proceedings. Come out now, and say that the team isn't respecting you and that way, if you choose to leave at the end of the season, the team is the big bad stingy villain who refused to pay you what you were due. The flipside is, Gould needs to go out and prove he's got the leg he used to have. Kicking, particularly at the NFL level, is deceptively difficult. And of course, with social media being what it is, he's already started seeing the backlash, busting out these two tweets around 2pm CT Thursday:
Just so we are clear I'm not mad at anyone. I was explaining the process athletes go through with teams. I want to be a bear for life.— Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09) July 25, 2013
I apologize to any fan who feels ill will towards those comments. Lets go win a championship. #beardown— Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09) July 25, 2013
The best thing for Robbie Gould to do is to come out and succeed. Until then, my personal advice would be to shut up and kick.