Chicago kicker Robbie Gould will miss the rest of the season after injuring his left calf, another blow to the stumbling Bears with a big NFC North showdown coming up Sunday against the Packers.
The Bears placed Gould on injured reserve Tuesday and signed veteran kicker Olindo Mare to a one-year contract. They also placed cornerback Sherrick McManis (knee) and safety Craig Steltz (chest) on IR while signing linebacker Jerry Franklin to a two-year deal, elevating receiver Joe Anderson from the practice squad and waiving offensive lineman Andre Gurode.
Gould strained his left calf in warm-ups before Sunday's loss at Minnesota, and punter Adam Podlesh handled kickoffs in his place. Gould kicked the extra point after both of Chicago's touchdowns and tried on onside kick late in the game. But when the Bears reached the Vikings 35-yard line late in the first quarter, Podlesh came out to punt.
Chicago has been hit hard by injuries lately and dropped four of five after a 7-1 start. The Bears (8-5) now trail Green Bay by a game in the division heading into their matchup at Soldier Field on Sunday, and now they'll be without one of the most accurate kickers in league history.
Gould, who ranks fourth all-time in the NFL at 85.6 per cent on field goals, converted 21 of 25 this season. He also extended his streak of attempts from 50 yards or more without a miss to 10 dating back to 2010, one shy of Tony Zendejas' league record.
Chicago will now go with Mare, a 15-year veteran and career 81.2 per cent kicker. He was with Carolina last year and was let go after getting beat out by Justin Medlock in the preseason.
Other than returner Devin Hester's recent concussion, the special teams had been largely unscathed. That changed with the injuries to Gould, McManis and Steltz.
Either way, the injuries continue to mount for a team that could be without Brian Urlacher (hamstring) for the remainder of the season. The Bears were also without cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) last week, and quarterback Jay Cutler left the game with neck soreness, although he expects to play against Green Bay. He also missed a game against San Francisco on Nov. 19 because of a concussion.