I’ve always personally liked Robbie Gould.
First and foremost, as a former kicker myself, there’s always a brotherhood among them, even among those who play on different levels.
Secondly, when the Bears first signed him as a free agent early in the 2005 season, he had such an underdog aura about him. He was working construction prior to his tryout with the team, and anytime a player goes from Average Joe to Pro (see Kurt Warner as an example), it’s always a feel-good story. Not to mention, his boyish looks made him appear to be 12 years old at the time, leaving you wondering if he needed his hand held crossing the street.
But the third and most important reason I’ve always liked Gould is because — for the most part — he’s been “as good as gold,” as the expression goes. The guy has been one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history throughout his career. And after struggling with depth on his kickoffs early in his career, he strengthened the leg and has been booming kickoffs into the end zone, finishing 10th in the league in 2012 with 38 touchbacks — tied with the strong-legged Sebastian Janikowski.
However, as Bears’ player representative, he has taken his role a bit too far and has been getting a bit too preachy the past couple years for his own good. I know first hand of the lack of respect kickers get in general so I know of the chip he surely has on his shoulders. But I also know that no matter how good a player may be at his position, at the end of the day Gould is still a kicker and will never fully be taken seriously.
Gould has been standing up for himself and his teammates recently, voicing his displeasure that Bears general manager Phil Emery announced there will be no contract extensions during the season. Gould is among many Bears players in the final year of their contracts.
While I like Gould as a player, and while I’d like the Bears to get him back at the right price, I’m not about to support him if he milks the Bears out of valuable extra dollars that could go to players at other positions of need.
Additionally, any time a professional athlete uses the excuse, “I’m playing to feed my family,” as Gould said in an interview recently, my respect level for that player goes down.
Every person in the world has to manage their money properly no matter how much money they make. A person who makes $50,000 per year needs to budget their money proportionately to an NFL player that makes $500,000 a year or $5 million a year. If Gould is truly worried about feeding his family, then he is terrible at budgeting and has poor fiscal responsibility. Food comes before expensive cars and big homes.
Gould later tried to walk back his “playing to feed my family” comments with the following tweet:
Feed my family comment was an expression I used when talking about both sides in a negotiation. Sorry to offended anyone not my intentions.
— Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09) July 26, 2013
Whether Gould was being literal or just using an expression is not the point. The point is, it’s a stupid expression to use during negotiations, because if you’re getting any salary whatsoever — regardless of how much it is — you should be able to feed your family.
Gould needs to shut up and play this year. He needs to put his field goals and extra points through the uprights and his kickoffs into the end zone. The contract will take care of itself. Not to mention, most players who are playing on a one-year contract have to worry about injuries that could take them out of a big-money contract.
But, Robbie, my fellow kicking brother, unless you pull your groin or strain your hamstring, I think your health will be just fine.
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