The latest newcomer in the Bears merry band of kickers acquired by Ryan Pace to potentially replace Cody Parkey already appears to be head and shoulders ahead of Parkey in handling adverse situations.
We’ll see whether 23-year-old Eddy Pineiro, acquired via trade Monday with the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft pick, sticks on the roster, where he’s currently joined by Chris Blewitt and fellow Kohl kicking camp alum Elliott Fry. Pineiro must be active in at least five games this season to trigger trade compensation, which would be a pittance to the Bears if he helps them officially close the book on Parkey.
But tell us, what’s more honorable, six-upright extraordinaire Parkey going on the "TODAY Show" less than one week after ending the Bears season, adding nothing new to the conversation but "earning" the show's “Most Honorable Player award;” or Pineiro literally receiving the Gainesville Police Department Service Award for helping to break up a domestic violence assault on campus two years ago?
“When I helped that girl out, it was pretty special because I was always raised to never put your hand on a woman and if you see a woman getting hurt, help somebody out,” Pineiro explained at last year’s scouting combine of the Oct. 2017 incident in which he and his father helped rescue a female victim from a serial assaulter who's now serving a nine-year jail sentence. “That could be your daughter. That could be your mother. That’s somebody’s daughter. If it was your daughter, you would want somebody to help her out.
“I heard her screaming for help at 3 o’clock in the morning. I woke up. She was screaming for help and I didn’t think twice. I ran downstairs and I went to help her. I grabbed him and I waited till the police got there.”
Talk about hitting the target.
Pineiro — whose off-field heroism came after he concluded his two-year Gators career as the franchise's most accurate kicker ever — also recalled at the 2018 combine legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban raving about Pineiro's leg strength.
“He said he’s coached a lot of NFL guys and he said that I had the biggest leg he’s ever seen,” said Pineiro, who attended Alabama's kicking camp before receiving his scholarship offer from Florida. “It’s just the sound of the ball comes out different. It’s like an explosion. That was his interpretation.”
Here's our interpretation: In a Bears offseason that began with them starting the conversation on Kareem Hunt’s second NFL chance, Pineiro’s back story is one all fans should easily embrace. And there’s more: Pineiro perhaps was only available via trade because the division rival Minnesota Vikings last season gave the hook after only two games to then-rookie Daniel Carlson — selected 167th overall in last year’s draft — whom the Raiders claimed off waivers following Pineiro’s season-ending groin injury.
Carlson went on to convert 16-of-17 FGAs for the Raiders, who had given Pineiro a $25,000 signing bonus as a college free agent. If Pineiro can stabilize the Bears' wobbliest roster position — a big "if," we'll add — it would come after they not only received another assist from Jon Gruden and Co. but the Vikings too.