The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants were interested, but ultimately, Pat O’Donnell isn’t taking his talents anywhere but back to Halas Hall.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets the Bears are bringing back their punter on a one-year deal.
O’Donnell set career bests with 87 punts, 4,087 yards, and a 47.0 per-punt average. He even contributed his first career touchdown pass to Benny Cunningham a fake punt on Monday Night Football.
Let’s re-live that for a moment now that O’Donnell is coming back:
— Erick Marrero (@ErickMarreroU) October 10, 2017
Over the course of his four-year career, O’Donnell has averaged 44.9 yards per punt, has pinned 99 inside the 20, and hasn’t had one blocked since 2015. By retaining O’Donnell, he remains one of the few players drafted by former GM Phil Emery. As of today, only O’Donnell, left tackle Charles Leno Jr., guard Kyle Long, and cornerback Kyle Fuller are left from Emery’s three drafts.
How the Bears were feeling about their punting situation was previously unknown. The team had kicked the tires on Bengals punter Kevin Huber, but Cincinnati re-signed its Pro Bowler on Wednesday afternoon. The Eagles and Giants were reportedly showing an interest in O’Donnell to fill the position left vacant by Donnie Jones and Brad Wing, respectively.
Chicago could have conceivably drafted a punter or signed on as an undrafted free agent after the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft, and still could do so. But at least they’ll have a familiar face in the fold when training camp starts.