Bears Bring Back Familiar Face, Former Packers Specialist in for Tryouts

Josh Lambo

Getty Veteran kicker Josh Lambo worked out for the Bears.

Brian Johnson may be heading back for yet another stint with the Chicago Bears.

In the wake of starting kicker Cairo Santos being listed as questionable for the team’s Week 4 game against the New York Giants, the Bears brought three kickers and two other specialists for workouts according to the NFL’s September 30 waiver wire. The Bears took a look at kickers Johnson, Michael Badgley, and Josh Lambo and also brought punter Cameron Nizialek and ex-Green Bay Packers long snapper Hunter Bradley in for tryouts.

If Santos can’t play, the Bears will likely be signing one of the three, as they currently don’t have a kicker on their roster or practice squad.

Johnson was with the Bears for the 2021 preseason as an undrafted rookie, signing as an UDFA after the draft. He landed on the team’s practice squad after Chicago made its initial 53-man roster cuts but was poached by the New Orleans Saints in October of last year.

Johnson Had 2 Stints With Bears Last Year

Johnson was 8-8 on his field goal attempts after signing with the Saints, but he wound up making five out of his eight extra point attempts — and one bad game wound up doing him in. He went 0-2 in the Saints’ November 14 loss to the Tennessee Titans, which was a game they lost by two points, 23-21. New Orleans released Johnson after that performance.

The Bears re-signed him to their practice squad again after that, but he was poached a second time by the Washington Commanders in November. He went 2-for-2 on his field goal attempts and was 4-5 on extra point attempts while in Washington.

Johnson was perfect for the Bears over the 2021 preseason. He went 3-3 on his extra point attempts and made both field goals he tried, displaying a solid leg, hitting from 44 and 54 yards out.

In college at Virginia Tech, the 23-year-old kicker went 54 out of 71 on his field goal attempts (76.1%) and he made all 131 of extra points. We’ll see if he’s the one Chicago brings in if Santos can’t play.

Kicker Cairo Santos Could Miss Due to Personal Reasons

Santos missed the team’s September 29 and 30th practices due to personal reasons and was listed as questionable for Chicago’s Week 4 away game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Santos is 4-4 on his field goal attempts this year, hitting the game winner as time expired in Chicago’s 23-20 Week 3 win over the Houston Texans. He has gone 4-6 on extra point attempts so far in 2022.

“It’s easy to kick from the left and just hit a straight ball,” Santos said after his game winner last week, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “So I just asked for a left hash kick and they got it. It takes all of us.”

It’ll take a team effort Sunday against New York, as the Bears will also be without starting running back David Montgomery and starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Safety Dane Cruikshank has also been ruled with a hamstring injury, while reserve tight end Ryan Griffin and linebacker Matt Adams are listed as doubtful.

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