Gators in the NFL: Pineiro will be Bears’ Week 1 kicker

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Chicago kicker Eddy Pineiro (15) boots a field goal out of the hold of punter Pat O'Donnell during the first half against Tennessee on Thursday in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

CHICAGO — The Bears officially concluded their eight-month search for a kicker Sunday.

Eddy Pineiro will kick for the Bears when they take on the Packers at Soldier Field in the season opener Thursday, coach Matt Nagy announced.

Pineiro said special teams coordinator Chris Tabor delivered the news Friday.

“I’m excited, confident,” Pineiro said. “I’m happy they chose me to the guy. I’ve just got to prove them right and show them I’m the guy and keep making kicks.

“They just told me, ‘Hey listen this organization believes in you. You’ve been kicking well and you deserve it.’”

The Bears acquired Pineiro in a trade with the Raiders on May 7, and he beat out competitors Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry over the last four months.

He replaces Cody Parkey, who missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired in a playoff loss to the Eagles on Jan. 6.

Pineiro finished his preseason 8-for-9 on field goals and 3-for-4 on extra points. Both of Pineiro’s misses came at Soldier Field, which is why he made the trip downtown Sunday to get a feel for the intricacies of kicking there.

“It was a little windy out there, which is good,” Pineiro said. “I’m just adjusting to the wind, the grass and the field. I’m just trying to find some target points and stuff like that.”

Pineiro has never kicked in a regular-season NFL game, but he said he believes his experiences kicking in college at Florida were similar.

“Honestly, I’ve kicked in some big games in Florida,” Pineiro said. “I’ve kicked in front of 100,000 people. It’s just like playing in college. You’ve just got to make kicks.”