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New Bears kicker Olindo Mare glad to get the call

WashingtRedskins v CarolinPanthers

Washington Redskins v Carolina Panthers

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Olindo Mare was busy enough to not have field goals and kickoffs incessantly on his mind while waiting for an opportunity to kick in the NFL again.

“I’ve got four kids,” Mare said. “It wasn’t tough at all. Even though you want to play, you still have a life to live. I’ve watched my friends play. You’re always hoping for a chance, but I wasn’t angry at the world or anything like that.”

Mare, a 39-year-old veteran who made his first NFL field goal in 1997, joined the Bears on Thursday for his first official practice at Halas Hall. He was signed Tuesday after Robbie Gould was put on injured reserve with a season-ending calf injury. With numerous injuries, the Bears only held a walk-through on Wednesday.

Special teams coach Dave Toub said Mare converted all his kicks during his tryout, making the Bears’ decision relatively easy when looking at several replacements for Gould.

“We talked about the past, we talked about how they kicked off [and] we talked about how they kicked onside kicks,” Toub said. “We were out there for two hours. . . . We feel like we made the right choice through that workout.”

Toub said the most important thing for Mare is getting the “operation” down with punter Adam Podlesh as his holder and long-snapper Patrick Mannelly. Although this is the first time in his 16-year career he’s joined a team this late, Mare said he doesn’t expect a tough transition.

“In the end, at least it’s one position where everybody kind of knows their role,” Mare said. “Even though I don’t know anybody except a few guys, the job is pretty straightforward.”

Gould has been a very vocal critic of the field conditions at Soldier Field, but Mare doesn’t seem overly concerned about them or the weather. Spending 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Mare has played in Soldier Field only four times.

As a member of the Carolina Panthers last season, Mare made 3 of 5 field goals, including a 39-yarder, at Soldier Field, but one was blocked by the Bears. In 2010, he visited Soldier Field twice with the Seattle Seahawks. In their first meeting, he didn’t attempt a field goal. Later in the playoffs, Mare converted a 30-yard field goal, his only attempt of the game.

“It is what it is,” Mare said of kicking in Soldier Field. “You’ve got to accept it and you’ve got to play with what’s there. You’re not playing in a dome on turf. You just got to make sure that everything you do is solid, that you’ve got good footing and go from there.”



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