Allow me to take you back in time. It’s 2002 and Kris Brown signs an offer sheet from a brand-spanking new expansion franchise called the Houston Texans. The Pittsburgh Steelers elect not to match, allowing their solid if unspectacular kicker to leave. In his place, they bring in veteran Todd Peterson. Unfortunately, Peterson has no clue how to kick at Heinz Field, missing almost 50% of his attempts before getting “injured.” Bill Cowher brings in three kickers, lines them up, and basically says, “Whoever puts the most balls through the uprights wins a job.”
Thus, the Jeff Reed era begins.
Now comes word that era is about to end in much the same way. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, one of the few reliable NFL Insiders, is reporting the Steelers will hold a kicker try-out this afternoon. If one of them sufficiently impresses the coaching staff, the Steelers will cut Skippy shortly thereafter. EDIT: Which Jeff Reed has been. It’s confirmed, he’s been cut. In fact, there are reports he was already cut last night and today’s “try-outs” were just a formality. Former Redskin Shaun Suisham is your new kicker. More detailed thoughts about Suisham to follow tomorrow.
Quite a turn of events for the man tabbed the team’s Franchise Player this past off-season.
Of course, Skippy brought this all upon himself. His antics are something the Black and Gold would barely tolerate from a real football player, never mind a lowly kicker. The only reason he’s survived fighting with cops, beating up towel dispensers, and basically acting like a drunken fool is his remarkable ability to kick at Heinz Field. Well, this season he’s currently dead last in home field goal percentage. Between that and the fact he’s failed to make clutch kicks on three separate occasions (Ravens, Saints, Bengals), it would seem his “Get Out Of Jail Free” card has finally been played out.
The final straw appears to be his bizarre post-game rant following Sunday night’s beatdown at the hands of the New England Patriots. From James Harrison‘s “I try to hurt people, not injure them,” to Mike Tomlin‘s “It would be tough for me to care less about their opinion, to be honest with you,” we’ve had some all-time great quotes this season. But the Jeff Reed Manifesto may trump of all them. As told to the Post-Gazette:
“I’m not going to make excuses.”
“If you’ve played any kind of sports in your life, you realize that what we play on is not very good turf. It happens.”
Err… That kinda sounds like an excuse, Skippy.
“It hurts me that I don’t help this team get points. But percentages are way overrated.”
Except when I’m a free agent and noting I make 90% of my kicks earns me a big fat contract!
“and on a night like tonight when I felt great, kicked off well, did everything I was supposed to do…”
Things kickers are supposed to do:
1: Make Field Goals
2: Make PATs
3: Kick ball into end zone
“and you miss a 20-something yard field goal,”
“Like I said there’s 95 percent of those fans that got my back totally and then 5 percent you always hear.”
Alternate career possibilities if the football thing doesn’t work out: Statistician, Census-taker, Pollster…
“They started before the game even started. You know, like I said, they buy tickets just to bash me and Dan [Sepulveda] and Greg [Warren]. It’s more me because points come off my foot.”
Is he serious? Who the hell goes to Heinz Field to heckle Skippy? If you or your family have season tickets and your entire purpose for going is to poke fun at our field goal kicker, kindly surrender your Steeler tickets to a real fan. I’m free. By the way, pray tell, why would Steeler fans, drunken idiots though they may be, harass their own man? Don’t we want our guys to score?
Meanwhile, I’ve seen Limas Sweed jerseys around town, I’ve seen an Andre Hastings jersey, I’ve even seen a friggin’ Walter Abercrombie jersey… I have never seen anybody wearing a Jeff Reed jersey. The only time we pay attention to a kicker is when he misses. So here’s a novel idea: DON’T MISS.
It’s been a fun ride, Skippy. You’ve made some big kicks and banged a bunch of skanky Yinzer chicks despite looking like one of those troll dolls I attached to the end of my pencil in elementary school. I’m sure you’ve had the time of your life. But all good things must come to an end…
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