Tagged in: Kicker

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen ruled out

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker will not play in Thursday night’s game versus the Los Angeles Chargers due to an ankle injury.

The Chargers, meanwhile, will be without starting wide receiver Keenan Allen, who suffered a hamstring injury in Los Angeles’ Week 1 triumph over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Chiefs listed Butker as out — as did the Chargers with Allen and tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring) — for the game on their final injury report of the week.

The Chiefs this week signed former New York Jets kicker Matt Ammendola to their practice squad, and he could be elevated to their active roster in time for Thursday night’s game.

Ammedola, who kicked for the Chiefs during their only practice session of the week on Tuesday, made 13 of 19 field goals for the Jets last season.

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Butker injured his left ankle on a kickoff during Sunday’s win versus the Cardinals in Arizona. Coach Andy Reid blamed the injuries to Butker and cornerback Trent McDuffie on what he said was loose turf on the recently re-sodded field in Arizona.

McDuffie was placed on injured reserve this because of a hamstring injury.

After his injury, Butker made three PATs and a 54-yard field goal. Safety Justin Reid handled kickoffs and went 1-of-2 on PATs.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley had stated Tuesday that it wasn’t “looking great” that Allen, who has been selected to five Pro Bowls in his career, would be able to play on Thursday night. Allen had four catches for 66 yards before departing in the first half on Sunday because of his injury.

With Allen out, expect receivers Joshua Palmer, DeAndre Carter and Jalen Guyton to see increased opportunity.

Also, Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson was limited Wednesday and is officially questionable. He has a “50-50” chance of playing, Staley said earlier this week.

“He’s improving,” Staley said Tuesday. “He’s headed in the right direction, but I think there is still a lot to be decided before game time on Thursday night.” Jackson underwent ankle surgery on Aug. 23 and was given a two-to-four week timetable to return. He was inactive versus the Raiders.

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Las Vegas Raiders agree to 4-year contract extensions with kicker Daniel Carlson, punter AJ Cole

Las Vegas Raiders place-kicker Daniel Carlson, who tied for the NFL lead in scoring last season with 144 points, has agreed to a four-year contract extension, his agent tweeted Wednesday.

The deal is worth $18.4 million with $10.2 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It makes Carlson the league’s third-highest-paid kicker.

Raiders punter AJ Cole also received a four-year extension Wednesday that will make him one of the league’s top-four-paid punters, his agent told NFL Network. Cole’s new deal is worth $12.4 million, including $5.9 million guaranteed, a source told Schefter.

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Cole leads the NFL with 51.1 yards per punt. His 42.8-yard net average ranks seventh.

Carlson, 26, was initially a fifth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 but was cut after two games when he missed three of his first four field goal attempts. The Raiders signed him Oct. 23 of that season.

With the Raiders, Carlson has made 95 of 108 field goal attempts, including 12-of-15 from 50 yards or longer, and 120 of 126 point-after attempts. His 104 points scored this season — 27-for-30 on field goals, 23-for-25 on extra points — are tied for third in the NFL with Los Angeles Rams kicker Matt Gay, behind New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk (128) and Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (108).

Carlson’s combined 60 field goals the past two seasons are the most in the NFL, while his 92.3% conversion rate over that time frame ranks fourth in the league.

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Pittsburgh Steelers undergo special teams makeover, release punter Jordan Berry, long snapper Kameron Canaday

The Pittsburgh Steelers are ushering in a new era in the team’s kicking unit. While kicker Chris Boswell’s job is safe, he’ll have a new supporting cast for the 2021 season.

The Steelers released punter Jordan Berry and long snapper Kameron Canaday, league sources confirmed to ESPN. With their departures, rookie seventh-round pick Pressley Harvin III is the presumed punter and Christian Kuntz, who played FCS football at nearby Duquesne University, is the team’s long snapper.

Berry first joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and has been the team’s primary punter for the better part of six seasons.

He was briefly released last year when the team brought on former Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt for a month, but Berry re-signed with the team in October and reclaimed punting duties.

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He averaged 44.4 yards per punt in his career, including a career best 45.8 last season. He went toe-to-toe with Harvin, a Georgia Tech product and 2020 Ray Guy winner, throughout training camp and the preseason.

“It really has been competitive,” special teams coordinator Danny Smith said during training camp. “It really has. It’s good to see two pros put their best foot forward. No pun intended. But Jordan’s punting the ball better than he ever has and Pressley is very talented, so it’s been quite a competition.”

Harvin impressed from the jump, averaging 46 yards per punt over his three preseason appearances.

Berry rose to the occasion and averaged 43.9 yards per punt in two preseason matches, but the team opted to go with their draft pick.

At long snapper, Kuntz, a Pittsburgh area native, won the job over four-year long snapper Canaday after spending part of the 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad.

He also spent the 2019 training camp with the Steelers before being waived during final cuts. He’s been on rosters and in camps with teams since 2017 and had a stint in the XFL with the Dallas Renegades, earning praise for his versatility of being a linebacker and long snapper.

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New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz will miss start of season due to injury

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz is estimated to miss time at the start of the season because of injury, according to a source, adding to the Saints’ growing roster upheaval.

Lutz’s specific timetable is unknown, but there is optimism that he won’t miss too many matches. He missed time at the beginning of training camp with a groin injury, and the source indicated that Lutz aggravated a previous injury.

The kicker took to Instagram to acknowledge that he had an injury that had worsened and decided to get it “fixed now in order to miss the least amount of time as possible.”

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Lutz did not say when he hoped to return.

The Saints are signing veteran kicker Brett Maher after Monday’s auditions to fill in for Lutz, a source told ESPN. Maher, 31, spent two seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ kicker 2018-19 and has been on practice squads/offseason rosters since then with the Jets, Washington, Texans and Cardinals.

The Saints are expected to have at least 11 new starters in Week 1 due to Drew Brees’ retirement, an offseason salary-cap purge, defensive tackle David Onyemata’s suspension and now injuries to Lutz and receiver Michael Thomas.

Lutz, 27, was a Pro Bowler in 2019 and ranks as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history with a field goal rate of 86.6% during his five-year career.

The Saints will also have a new punter in 2021 after releasing longtime standout Thomas Morstead this offseason. Second-year pro Blake Gillikin is anticipated to take over the role after spending last season on injured reserve.

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Kicker Adam Vinatieri, NFL’s all-time leading scorer, retiring after 24 seasons

Kicker Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s all-time scoring leader, revealed Wednesday on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he is retiring after 24 seasons.

“By Friday, if paperwork goes in, you heard it here first,” Vinatieri told McAfee, his friend and former teammate with the Indianapolis Colts.

Vinatieri, 48, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a first-team All-Pro pick three times, scored 2,673 points and made a record 599 field goals for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis, where he played his final 14 seasons.

He made 29 game-winning kicks in his career, with three of them coming with the Patriots from 1996 to 2005. He made a game winner in blizzard-like conditions versus Oakland in the 2001 AFC playoffs and made game-winning field goals in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. No kicker has more Super Bowl rings than Vinatieri’s four — three with the Patriots and one with the Colts.

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“Adam Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all-time who made the greatest kick of all-time in the 2001 divisional playoffs,” Pats head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “His consistency, mental toughness and performance under pressure was legendary. I am honored to have coached Adam, going all the way back to his rookie year in 1996 and through some of the most special moments in Patriots and league history. Adam is in the rarest of echelon of athletes whose career accomplishments may never be matched.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who played with Vinatieri from 2000-05, took to Instagram to salute Vinatieri, writing, “When you look up clutch in the dictionary it should have your picture. An incredible teammate with an incredible work ethic. Honored to have played with the (GOAT).”

Vinatieri was part of 242 regular-season victories, and he broke career records for field goal attempts (715) while becoming the third-oldest player to appear in an NFL game. He scored points in 47 different stadiums, too. Vinatieri played in six AFC Championship Games, five Super Bowls and a record 397 matches including the playoffs. He also was selected to the NFL’s 100th anniversary team.

His 21 100-point seasons shattered the previous mark of 16.

He made a league-record 10 game-winning kicks in overtime. He holds the league mark for consecutive field goals (44), and nobody has been better in the postseason, in which he was 56 of 69 on field goal attempts and has 238 points, all records.

Vinatieri also played in 365 regular-season games, second behind Morten Andersen (382), and is the only player in league history to top the 1,000-point mark with two different franchises.

Vinatieri also managed to chase down Herschel Walker with a textbook, touchdown-saving tackle in 1996. Vinatieri didn’t play last season after a disappointing 2019 season.

He was placed on injured reserve in December 2019 after a season-long knee injury that started in training camp. The Colts stuck with Vinatieri even though he made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts that season.

He missed a total of 14 kicks: eight field goals and six extra points, and two of his misses cost the team victories versus the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also had three kicks blocked in 2019, including one that was returned 63 yards for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in Week 13.

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Buccaneers sign kicker Ryan Succop, waive Elliott Fry

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reshuffled their kicking competition with less than two weeks left before they open up the regular season versus the New Orleans Saints.

On Tuesday, the club announced that it has signed veteran kicker Ryan Succop and released Elliott Fry. Succop takes Fry’s place on the roster and will now directly compete with second-year incumbent kicker Matt Gay for the job in 2020. 

Succop signed a minimum one-year deal with Tampa Bay, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, that will pay him just $150,000 in guarantees so there isn’t much financial risk here.

The 33-year-old will have to make quick work proving that he’s a better option than Gay, however, as there are just four days left before Saturday’s roster cuts. 

The veteran has 11 seasons in the NFL under his belt and has netted 82.2% of his field goals throughout his career. Injuries derailed his 2019 campaign but he was able to hit 86.7% of his field goals and 90.3% of his extra points during his last full season in the league in 2018.

After coming off of IR in late October last year, Succop appeared in six games before landing back on IR in December.

Over that stretch, he hit one of his six field-goal tries and was 24-of-25 on extra points. 

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“I’m looking for consistency on the gimmes,” head coach Bruce Arians stated on Sunday when he was asked about what he’s looking for in a kicker.

“We can’t miss extra points. We can’t give away easy points. Kicks inside the 30-yard line should be automatic. If you can make a 56 yarder, that’s great. But, when we drive the ball down to the 10[-yard line] and miss a field goal, there’s nothing that tears a team more apart on offense than, ‘Hey, we just took the ball down the field and we didn’t get any points.’ So, the ‘gimmes’ – who’s the most consistent? If you can do that and still kick 56, 57[-yard field goals], now you’re All-Pro.”

Arians added on Monday that it’s mildly unsettling that the Buccaneers do not have a stable kicker with the regular season approaching, but said: “Whoever we line up out there, we’re going to have confidence in.”

As for Gay, he converted 77.1% of his field goals during his rookie year after Tampa Bay picked him in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Utah. Gay also hit 89.6% of his extra-point attempt.

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Giants release Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas

The New York Giants are moving on from former Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas previous to the start of training camp. Rosas confirmed his release on Instagram — just a day after he was reportedly scheduled to arrive at the team’s practice facility for camp. 

“I wish I could have performed at the level I know I can play at,” Rosas wrote. “I have nothing but love towards the New York Giants. The values of character, love, and family are seen in everyday life at the facility within staff and management. Thank you to all my fans who showed love and support through the years.”

The Giants, who had no kickers on the roster after cutting Rosas, have reportedly already added a substitute. Per Matt Lombardo of NJ.com, the Giants signed former New York Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro — who had retired from the NFL last August.

In his five-year career, Catanzaro converted 83.8 percent of his field goal attempts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets. He was 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) on kicks over 50 yards. 

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Catanzaro surprisingly retired last August following a forgettable preseason opener in which he missed two extra points in a Jets preseason loss to the Giants.

Catanzaro missed a kick to the right and one to the left on his first two attempts before finally converting one with 14 seconds left in the game. He finished 1 of 3 on extra points and made his only field goal attempt, a 34-yarder, in the second quarter. 

Rosas was already on thin ice with the Giants and it wasn’t all because of his unfortunate 2019 season, when he hit just 12 of 17 field goal attempts (70.6%) and 35 of 39 extra point attempts (89.7%).

Rosas was charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a high-speed hit-and-run in June: Reckless driving on a highway, hit and run and property damage, and driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a previous DUI of alcohol or drugs. Rosas’ first court appearance is arranged for Sept. 4. 

The charges from June likely were the last straw for the Giants, who actually placed a second-round tender on Rosas earlier this offseason. Rosas converted 82.7% of his field goal attempts in his three seasons combined, but was under 71% in two of those three campaigns.

His 2018 Pro Bowl season was the outlier, as Rosas hit 32 of 33 field goal attempts (97.0%) and 31 of 32 extra point attempts (96.9%). Rosas was just 1 of 5 on field goal attempts from over 40 yards last campaign.

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Kicker Mason Crosby, Packers reach 3 year deal

The Green Bay Packers and kicker Mason Crosby have reached to a new three-year deal, per his agent Mike McCartney

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the contract is worth $12.9 million.

Crosby enjoyed a career-high 91.7 percent field-goal success rate (22-of-24) last year. He was a perfect 14-of-14 from 39 or fewer yards.

The 35-year-old out of the University of Colorado will be entering his 14th campaign in the NFL next year, all with Green Bay.

Crosby won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers in 2011, going 3-of-4 on field goals and hitting all 16 of his extra points in the postseason.

The signing does not come as a surprise considering that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told Mike Spofford of Packers.com that he wanted Crosby back.

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“I think when you have a guy who has been through the fire like Mason has, for a guy in my position it makes us feel very comfortable,” Gutekunst said. “He obviously had an excellent year last year. He’s a big part of our team, a big part of what we’re trying to do here. I’m very hopeful that will reach the right ending.”

A veteran of 10 NFL postseasons, Crosby has shined when the lights are brightest, hitting 26 of 29 playoff field goals and all 65 of his extra points.

He notably drilled field goals of 56 and 51 yards in the final 1:33 of a 2017 NFC Divisional Round Game in a road upset over the Dallas Cowboys.

He’s also been a reliable source of points for 14 years as he hasn’t missed a match since the Pack picked him in the sixth round of the 2007 draft.

Crosby and the Packers will look to build off a 13-3 NFC North-winning campaign that saw the team reach the NFC Championship Game.

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