Kickoff Competition

Despite hitting over 80% of his field goal attempts Paul Edinger continues to be an enigma to GM Jerry Angelo.

Edinger hit 26 of 31 field goal attempts in 2001 including 13/16 from beyond 40 yards, but struggled to hit kickoffs inside the 10-yard line let alone the end zone. In two seasons Edinger has been successful on 47 of 58 field goal attempts.

It is doubtful that Angelo would cut Edinger because of his poor kickoffs, but Chicago couldn't afford to take an additional roster spot for a kickoff specialist.

"We have to get better there. We have to be more consistent there that did hurt us (at times during the season)," Angelo said.

The most apparent was during the Bears 33-19 playoff loss to the Eagles. Edinger was only driving the ball to the Philadelphia 20-yard line. The Bears style of football doesn't allow for giving the opponent good field position.

"Playing with a defensive orientated team field position is paramount to us," Angelo said. "I know Paul does spend a lot of time doing it (practicing kickoffs). It's tough here in Chicago (because of the weather)."

During the off-season Angelo brought in Jon Hilbert, who will challenge Edinger for the job in training camp.

However, it remains to be seen if this is a scare tactic on Angelo's part or if he plans to replace Edinger.

"I like competition. I think competition brings out the best in players and I want to do that at just about every position.

"Guys get fat and money takes away effort sometimes."

Sweetness: Connie Payton, the widow of Walter Payton, delivered the keynote address at the commencement ceremonies for the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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