After long layoff, kicker Cairo Santos says he's in good health to help Bears

Thursday, 23 November 2017, 08:47:11 AM. New kicker Cairo Santos says he’s healthy and has experience with the Chiefs that he believes will help him transition to the Bears.

Cairo Santos joined the for his first official practice Wednesday at Halas as the team prepares for the Eagles. Here’s what we learned as the Bears welcomed the new kicker into the fold.

Santos says he’s healthy and has experience he believes will help him transition to the Bears.

Santos said he has been kicking for a month and at 100 percent for two weeks after the waived him while he was recovering from a groin injury Sept. 30.

He first suffered the injury during the preseason, but he didn’t give it enough time to heal. It flared up again, and he finished his 3½ seasons with the Chiefs 89-for-105 on field-goal attempts, including 3-for-3 this year.

He said he had an “extensive workout” Monday that validated he’s ready to go.

Santos, 26, was born in Brazil, and he played at Tulane with home games in the Superdome. So it was a shock kicking in the winter elements when he arrived in City in 2014.

“I’ve played in really bad stuff, in rain and snow, 3-degree weather last year in the playoffs,” Santos said. “I’ve kind of gone through it all. Having played at Soldier Field, I know it’s one of the toughest places to kick, but through that experience, I think I’ve learned to hit a straight ball and do the things I can control to not think about the elements.”

Santos said the toughest part about joining a team with a week to prepare is getting used to the snap and the hold from his new teammates. But he has trained before with punter/holder Pat O’Donnell and said he is familiar with his holding style.

He also has a couple of other connections to Chicago.

In Kansas City, he played for former Bears and current Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He also considers former Bears kicker a mentor. Through O’Donnell, Gould reached out to offer encouragement when Santos missed kicks in each of his first two games of his rookie season, and they have stayed in touch.

“I give those guys a lot of credit for shaping the kind of kicker I am today,” Santos said.

Tight end should continue to log significant playing time even when returns.

After missing the last three-plus weeks with an undisclosed illness, Sims practiced in an orange non-contact jersey.

He didn’t delve into details about the illness, except to say, “Every day I woke up, I just felt horrible. I didn’t feel good enough to play or practice.” Despite feeling a little winded Wednesday, he believes he can return to game action soon.

Sims praised Shaheen for stepping up in his absence, as the rookie has six catches for 80 yards in the last two games. With Zach Miller out for the year, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said he expects Shaheen to continue to receive opportunities even when Sims returns.

“As long as he’s making steps in the right direction — we’re high on Dion Sims as well — but we do not want to slow down Adam’s progress that way,” Loggains said. “And he has earned the play time the last two weeks.”

Deiondre Hall hopes to continue growth now that he’s back at practice.

The Bears defensive back injured his hamstring in the final exhibition game this year and has been on injured reserve, but the team designated him to return Wednesday.

The Bears, who can bring two players back from injured reserve each season, have 21 days to evaluate Hall in practice before deciding whether to put him on the active roster or return him to injured reserve.

A 2016 fourth-round draft pick, Hall played in eight games as a rookie last year, totaling nine tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. He said returning for the end of the year will help his development “tremendously.”

“Actually being able to put on a helmet again and a practice jersey felt amazing, so glory to God on that,” Hall said. “The last two months and change have really tested my mental (abilities) as well — staying in it and being attentive, knowing the playbook and trying to help where I can help.”

Twitter @ChiTribKane

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