Doug Parkey grew up in Naperville as a Bears fan. And though his son was raised in Jupiter, Florida, just north of Miami, dad's influence paid off. On Thursday, placekicker Cody Parkey was introduced as a Chicago Bear, a key free agent signing for a team looking for stability at the position.
Three different placekickers made a total of 16 field goals for the Bears last season, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL. That was motivation to find reliable kicking a top priority this offseason. Enter Parkey, who made 21 of 23 field goal attempts last season as a member of the Dolphins. During his four-year career–playing for Indianapolis, Miami, Cleveland and Philadelphia –Parkey has made more than 86 percent of his field goals and 96 percent of his extra points. His efficiency and ability made him a top target for Bears general manager Ryan Pace.
New Bears Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, Chase Daniel and Cody Parkey visit Halas Hall for the first time to sign their contracts.
"I'd like to think I'm well-rounded," Parkey said on Thursday, when he spoke to the media at Halas Hall. "Not only am I field goals and stuff like that, I feel that I can kick off well, I can go deep, I can go short, my onside kicks are good. I take pride in doing all that stuff, not just being good at one or the other. So I think there's a lot of good things I can bring to this special teams unit."
The Bears expect Parkey to be reliable for a long time. He was signed to a four-year contract, a change of pace for the kicker who went undrafted out of Auburn in 2014. The idea of long-term security appealed to him, after bouncing around the league on one-year deals earlier in his career. The stability will also let him grow with the young team around him.
"I've put in my dues so far in the league," Parkey said. "I've been on multiple teams and I've had success and all the teams, it just sometimes hasn't worked out for me. The Bears reaching out and showing me they're committed to me on a long-term deal like that means the world to me. I'm just gonna go out there and do the best I can and work as hard as I can for this organization."
His experience kicking outdoors certainly appealed to the Beas. Parkey has kicked in some of the NFL's most difficult venues, and has a career accuracy of 86 percent outdoors. One place he hasn't kicked, however, is Soldier Field. The kicker has talked to his peers and heard that the home of the Bears is one of the toughest places in the league to kick, but that doesn't scare Chicago's newest addition much.
Parkey is confident in his leg, regardless of the elements outside or the location he's lining up from.
"It depends on the weather and the wind and all that good stuff, so I can't put a number on it," Parkey said of his range. "I can tell you I've made six of the seven from 50 yards, so I feel very comfortable at that range. It also depends on the time of the game. A lot of the times you're not going to try a 58- or 59-yarder if it's going to give up field position. A lot of teams that are doing that are doing it at halftime or the end of the game. It just all depends. I've had some kicks over 50 yards I've been successful at and whatever kicks I'm called upon to do, I'm going to go out there and put my best foot forward and try to make every one."
Parkey is hoping Bears fans, including his dad, have a lot to cheer about in the next few years. "I kinda knew the direction they're heading in — the Bears, and us, we're going to be a good team for years to come."