With AAF no longer a thing, Bears will work out more kickers
Koo, Rose have NFL experience
CHICAGO _ The premature demise of the Alliance of American Football has given the Chicago Bears a chance to look at possibilities for their kicking competition earlier than expected.
Multiple sources told the Tribune the Bears will host Younghoe Koo and Nick Rose in a tryout Wednesday at Halas Hall. It’s believed they might bring in at least one additional kicker that day.
The Bears have two kickers under contract, and neither Chris Blewitt nor Redford Jones has NFL experience. Koo and Rose have both kicked in the NFL and were two of the best in the short-lived AAF season.
Koo, 24, spent four games with the Chargers in 2017, when he made 3 of 6 field-goal attempts and 9 of 9 extra points. The Georgia Southern alumnus hit eight of his 14 kickoffs for touchbacks.
Koo was 14 of 14 on field goals for the Atlanta Legends in the AAF with a long of 38 yards.
Rose, 24, spent two games with the Chargers in 2017 and eight games with the Redskins that season. He was 11 of 14 on field goals with a long of 55 and made 23 of 26 extra points. The Texas alumnus hit 32 of his 47 kickoffs for touchbacks.
Rose was also 14 of 14 on field goals for the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF with a long of 54 and another from 50 yards.
Koo and Rose will try out Tuesday for the Vikings, who have one kicker on their roster, veteran Dan Bailey. He was re-signed to a one-year, $1 million contract this offseason that includes $250,000 guaranteed, so it’s possible the Vikings will challenge him by signing another kicker.
It would not be surprising if the Bears also look at AAF kicker Elliott Fry. He was 14 of 14 on field goals for the Orlando Apollos with a long of 47. Fry, who kicked in college at South Carolina, has not been on an NFL roster. He had a tryout with the Buccaneers in 2017.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace said the team is keeping all options open in the competition this spring and summer to replace Cody Parkey.
“Right now we’re all just very openminded,” Pace said last month at the NFL owners meeting. “So we have two kickers on the roster now, and we’re open to continue to add competition to the position – and the keyword is ‘competition’ at that spot. And doing creative things to make them feel that pressure and that competition.
“The more we study it and the more we look at kickers around the league _ we can talk about (Saints kicker Will) Lutz or (Ravens kicker Justin) Tucker and all these guys _ you look at how they came into the league and where they came from, there’s so many different angles and avenues how they came and became good kickers. So we’re very open right now in increasing competition there.”
Maybe the new angle is finding a kicker from the AAF to add to the mix.
Meanwhile, the AAF issued a statement of apology late Friday over its abrupt suspension of play on Tuesday, eight weeks into the 10-week regular season.
“This week, we made the difficult decision to suspend all football operations for the Alliance of American Football. We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry,” the statement opened.
“This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we are also committed to working on solutions for all outstanding issues to the best of our ability. Due to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision.”
Despite a glitzy start to the season in February, the AAF ran into financial problems almost immediately. Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon made a $250 million commitment to the league, putting in $70 million at the time, and became the majority owner. He pulled the plug on the league this week despite the protests of league co-founder Bill Polian.
“When Mr. Dundon took over, it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all,” Polian said in a statement.
The league’s statement on Friday went on to express gratitude to players, coaches, fans and other league employees.
Walton waived by Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals waived running back Mark Walton after his third arrest of 2019, the team announced on Saturday.
“It’s important for our team to get off to a fresh start as we begin the 2019 season,” said head coach Zac Taylor in the statement.
“For that reason, we felt it best if we move forward without Mark Walton. We hope his situation gets resolved, but we don’t want to take anything away from the good work that so many other players have already begun to demonstrate.”
Walton surrendered to police in Florida on Thursday on a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon, along with marijuana possession and reckless driving in connection with an incident that occurred March 12 in North Miami-Dade.
That evening, police tried to pull over Walton as he drove erratically. When he did park the car, he got out and ran away. He was shot in the back with a stun gun as he tried to escape but managed to remove the prongs and vanish, according to the Miami Herald, citing court documents.
A search of the car, which had been rented in Walton’s name, resulted in police locating a 9 mm carbine rifle, several loaded clips and 14 grams of marijuana, according to police. He had purchased the weapon legally.
On Feb. 16, he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery in South Florida.
Police said those charges stemmed from an argument he had with a couple at his condominium complex over his car blocking the entrance to the parking garage, the Miami Herald reported.
He also was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge in January and is awaiting trial.
Younghoe Koo has four games of NFL experience with the Chargers and will get another chance to catch on with an NFL team.