the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flurry of Opportunities

Job openings don't surface very frequently for any of the 32 starting kicker jobs in the NFL, so the past two weeks have been highly unusual. Last week saw two kickers signed - Shayne Graham to fill in for the injured Stephen Gostkowski in New England, and Dave Rayner to fill in for the injured Jason Hanson in Detroit. If that wasn't unusual enough, this week saw three more kickers signed to fill three new openings.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers decided to part ways with Jeff Reed. That opened the door for Shaun Suisham to get another shot at the NFL - coincidentally in the city where he first surfaced in the league over five years ago.
“I’m very excited to be here. In 2005 I would’ve paid the Steelers to let me come here. It was a really special opportunity. I didn’t even know if I was going to get into an NFL camp. The Pittsburgh Steelers did that for me. I had a lot of fun here. So I was really excited to get the phone call to come back.”
In San Francisco, injuries to starter Joe Nedney have created a temporary job opening for the second consecutive year. Once again, Shane Andrus is the beneficiary. Since he got the oppurtunity commentary out of the way last year, Andrus spoke this week about the weather - for which the game forecast includes rain:
“I’ve played over in NFL Europe so I’ve been a part of some pretty disastrous kicking conditions. In college I kicked back in Kentucky and there are some days where it’s pretty bad there, too, especially about this time of year. I’ve kicked (at Candlestick) through their winds in the preseason a little bit so I’m pretty familiar with it. I kicked in Tampa Bay last year and they had some pretty strong winds coming off the bay.”
While the Steelers and 49ers both opted to go with a veteran kicker, in Cincinnati, the Bengals opted to go with a rookie. Aaron Pettrey was signed after Mike Nugent suffered a season ending injury. Pettrey discussed the varied emotions of the situation:
"It's pretty cool. My dad is excited. My family is already looking for tickets.... 
It's bittersweet. It's nice being here, but I'd like to see Mike keep kicking this year. Under the circumstances, I wish it were a different route....
That's what I really wanted to do. Kicking and eventually making it to the NFL, at the highest level."

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