LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears released Robbie Gould, ending an 11-year run with the most accurate kicker in franchise history, and upgraded their offensive line by signing three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton to a three-year deal Sunday night.
With Gould gone and Sitton in place, the Bears figure to have a different look when they open the season against Houston on Sept. 11.
Gould had quite a run in Chicago after going undrafted out of Penn State in 2005. He was working in construction when he signed with the Bears early that season after being released by New England and Baltimore.
Gould helped the 2006 team reach the Super Bowl and became the Bears’ all-time leader in field-goal percentage (85.4 percent) and points (1,207). He also holds club records for field goals made (276), field goals made of 50 yards or more (23), field goals made in a season (33 in 2015) and longest field goal made (58-yards in 2013).
Gould had a rough stretch last season after making his first 15 field-goal attempts, though he wound up converting 84.6 percent. He made 5 of 6 field goals in the preseason but missed two extra points in the final exhibition against Cleveland. And with two years remaining on his contract, the Bears are parting ways and will need to bring in another kicker.
The 30-year-old Sitton was a surprise cut by Green Bay on Saturday. He had started 112 of 121 regular-season games since being drafted in the fourth round in 2008 out of Central Florida. He was one of the leaders on a front five that protects quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The signing of Sitton should bring a smile to quarterback Jay Cutler. He will have two star guards protecting him with three-time Pro Bowl lineman Kyle Long on the right side and Sitton at left guard.
The Bears can now go with either veteran Ted Larsen at center or rookie Cody Whitehair, who took some snaps there but worked mainly at left guard in the preseason.
The Bears also signed tight end Logan Paulsen and claimed center Eric Kush and cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc off waivers on Sunday.
Offensive lineman Cornelius Edison, defensive back Demontre Hurst and tight end Khari Lee were waived to make room on the roster.
Paulsen played in 75 games for Washington over five seasons, finishing with 79 receptions for 801 yards and six touchdowns. But he missed last year with an injury and was released on Saturday.
Kush also was cut Saturday after appearing in seven games with the Rams last season. LeBlanc, an undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic, played 141 snaps and had an interception for New England during the preseason, but was released by the Patriots over the weekend.
The Bears signed six players to their practice squad, including former Harvard tight end Ben Braunecker and wide receiver Daniel Braverman, a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft out of Western Michigan.