We know kickers are a weird breed. Not in an immoral FLDS compound kinda way. But just a little off, ya know?
Watch them in their natural habitat – isolated from real football – and you come away scratching your head as if it just dawned on you that – political correctness and racial sensitivity be damned – we still call our main bedroom the “master" suite.
I know, right?!
But there’s really no explanation for the plight of former Cowboys kicker Mike Vanderjagt. Remember him?
One of the cockiest athletes I’ve ever come across, he promised to be worth “two or three wins” when he arrived at Cowboys’ training camp in 2006. His website, which is a tad stagnant these days, basically boasted him as Muhammad Ali in funky cleats.
But something happened on the way to Vanderjagt’s Ring of Honor induction and this morning he’s getting his kicks in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts.
He doesn’t do drugs. Doesn’t beat his wife. Hasn’t been arrested. He’s only 38, remains (at 86 percent) the most accurate kicker in NFL history and just three years ago set the league record with 42 straight field goals. And still, no team south of the border is willing to sign him?
Problem: He can’t kick off. Or shut his mouth.
Vanderjagt made 12 of 17 field goals for the Cowboys, but only 1 of 4 over 40 yards. After misses he’d shrug and promise that he was so great he’d make them when it counted because, basically, he was so great. After a while his braggadocio deteriorted into insecurity over-compensation and Bill Parcells grew none too amused, cutting him 12 weeks into the season for a guy (Martin Gramatica) who hadn’t kicked in two years.
The Cowboys’ kicking situation seems solidified with Pro Bowler Nick Folk. But, with these kickers. who knows? -- Richie Whitt
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