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Nugent eager to make Bears debut Sunday

Posted Dec 7, 2017

Veteran kicker Mike Nugent, who played for the Bengals from 2010-16, is excited about making his Bears debut against his former team Sunday in Cincinnati.

Mike Nugent is excited about making his Bears debut Sunday against his former team at Paul Brown Stadium.

The veteran placekicker, who was signed Monday to replace the injured Cairo Santos, spent seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2010-16.

"It's kind of funny," Nugent said. "Anytime you get the call, you get anxious to see who you're going to play next. Just seeing it was Cincinnati, it's one of those things. I'm lucky I know the stadium. I was there for a long time."

Nugent, 35, has appeared in 157 NFL games over 13 seasons. In addition to the Bengals, he has also played for the Jets (2005-08), Buccaneers (2009), Cardinals (2009), and Cowboys (2017), converting 80.7 percent of his field-goal attempts (243 of 301) with a long of 55 yards.

The Bears' third kicker this season following Santos and Connor Barth, Nugent is eager to make a positive first impression on his new team.

"Whatever opportunities present themselves, you want to be able to help your team," Nugent said. "I only played quarterback in high school a little bit, but I realize how hard they work to get the ball down the field and get in position [to score]. You want to be a dependable closer for your team."

Long story: Coach John Fox revealed that the Bears decided to place guard Kyle Long on injured reserve Tuesday because injuries to his shoulder and hand "just became problematic." Fox added that in last Sunday's loss to the 49ers, Long "kind of re-aggravated or increased the aggravation of the shoulder, so it was time."

Fox said that it has not yet been determined whether Long will require surgery.

The Bears will miss Long, just like they did last year when he sat out the final seven games of the season after suffering a broken ankle in a loss to the Buccaneers in Tampa.

"We were definitely a better team with him in there," Fox said. "I think that's obvious."

Building a bond: Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky continues to develop a rapport with veteran receiver Dontrelle Inman, who was acquired by the Bears Oct. 25 in a trade with the Chargers.

The two connected for the Bears' only touchdown in last Sunday's loss to the 49ers, an 8-yard pass that Trubisky rifled to a streaking Inman across the back of the end zone.

"He's a really good football player," Trubisky said. "He's smart, ball-savvy. He knows where to be and when to be there. He runs really good routes and I think that's just a lot of us getting on the same page. He wants to see the game through my eyes so he knows how he can help me, where he can be and in situations to get the ball more.

"That's what you want in a receiver. If he knows what I'm thinking, then we could be on the same page and chemistry is just growing and growing."

Center of attention: Trubisky was just as effusive in his praise for second-year center Cody Whitehair.

"I love Cody; he's my guy," Trubisky said. "He's probably one of the best practice players we have. We need more guys that practice like Cody does, with the energy and passion he brings.

"He's very protective of me and he's very hard on himself. He's a perfectionist. He wants to be perfect. But he's done a great job for us. He's a great leader of this offense. I can't say enough great things about Cody Whitehair."