Robbie Gould calls standoff with 49ers 'complicated,' makes it sound like he still wants to return to Chicago

Only one month remains until the 49ers open up training camp. Only 71 days remain until the 2019 NFL season kicks off. So at the very least, it's mildly concerning the 49ers still don't know when their kicker is going to show up to play football. 

Back in March, the 49ers placed the franchise tag on Robbie Gould to make sure they kept him around for at least one more season. The only problem? Gould doesn't appear to want to play for the 49ers anymore. He's yet to report to the team and most importantly, has requested a trade that would bring him closer to his family in Chicago. Of course, a certain NFL team that Gould used to play for happens to also reside in Chicago. 

That brings us to the comments Gould recently made to NBC Sports Chicago. Even though he hasn't directly said it, it certainly sounds like Gould wants to reunite with the Bears mainly because of his family.

"It's a complicated situation," Gould said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "The way I've kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he'll call me and let me know. But right now there's nothing to really know, and I'm just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

"I'm at a point in my career where my family is what's going to dictate the decisions that I make."

All along, the 49ers have behaved as if they have no intentions of fulfilling his request. From their perspective, that makes complete and total sense. In their eyes, they're entering the upcoming season as a playoff-caliber team with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo. That means they'll need a reliable kicker, which is exactly what Gould has been over the course of his 14-year career. Gould's career field goal percentage rests at 87.7. In NFL history, only Justin Tucker has made a higher percentage of field goals. In Gould's first two seasons with the 49ers, he connected on 96 percent of his field goals.

But it's also understandable why Gould would want to return to Chicago. His family still lives there. And it's where he established himself as one of the league's top kickers. Despite playing in less than ideal conditions, Gould made 85.4 percent of his field goals with the Bears from 2005-15. He's the franchise's all-time leader in points scored. Clearly, the city means a lot to him.

"This city's been incredible," Gould said. "No matter where I've gone, no matter where I've lived, no matter where I've played, Chicago has always been home."

Finally, it's understandable why the Bears would want Gould. Ever since they made the mistake of cutting him on the eve of the 2016 season, kicking has been a struggle for them. Over the past three seasons, the Bears' kickers have made 76 percent of their field goals -- a statistic that doesn't include Cody Parkey's miss in the playoffs that ended their season prematurely. 

After cutting Parkey, the Bears have tried to solve their problem by bringing in a whole host of kickers to compete for the job, but the competition hasn't gone well to this point in the summer. With training camp a month away, the Bears' competition is down to Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry, neither of whom have kicked in a regular-season NFL game. 

There's no way to know how the situation will work out, but it's difficult to imagine the 49ers turning down an attractive draft pick from the Bears in exchange for a 36-year-old kicker. On the other hand, the Bears, who already parted ways with tons of picks in the Khalil Mack trade, might not want to give up significant draft capital for an aging kicker they cut three years ago. But if the Bears don't acquire Gould, they'll enter the upcoming season with a fatal flaw that has already cost them one shot at a championship. 

On Sept. 5, the Bears will face the Packers on opening night. Not much time remains for them to sort out their kicking situation.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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