The Bears long-standing snapper-holder-kicker troika of Patrick Mannelly, Brad Maynard and Robbie Gould is no more after the Bears informed Maynard that he will not return to the team on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday, Gould expressed his disappointment in losing the only holder he has known during his record-setting, six-year run in Chicago.
"It's very unfortunate. It really is," Gould said. "I don't get paid to make those decisions, thankfully. You can't discount, one, what Brad Maynard has been able to do for this organization, and two his career here as a Chicago Bear. He has sacrificed a lot. In a time when punters are ... punting ... mostly down the middle of the field, Brad is the best directional punter in the NFL. Obviously if you're punting down the middle of the field, that's not our scheme. Obviously Brad has the leg to do it.
Maynard has been one of the league's most consistent punters during his decade with the Bears and hopes to continue his career with another team. The Bears are expected to sign former Illinois and New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford. Former Texas punter Richmond McGee will also compete for the starting job when training camp opens in Bourbonnais on Friday.
"Would I love to have him back? Absolutely," Gould said. "But unfortunately that's not the decision I have to make. I have to put the ball through the uprights. That's what I get paid to do.
"It's a sad day. It really is. Brad has done a lot for me personally. He's done a lot for the organization. I would love to see him back. Hopefully, depending on how things work in free agency, if something doesn't happen the way the organization would like it to, hopefully he would entertain coming back here."
Maynard said philosophical differences with special teams coach Dave Toub on where and when to directionally punt the ball during games likely contributed to the team's decision.
"He's helped Dave Toub's career tremendously ...," Gould said. "He'll continue to do it. He's got a lot of years ahead of him. He's a veteran, he knows how to punt, he has done a great job.