With Giorgio Tavecchio officially cut – though don’t be surprised if he lands somewhere – Sebastian Janikowski is still the Raiders kicker. And he should be. He outplayed Tavecchio this offseason. All feels right with special teams.
Drafted in the first round of the 2000 draft – yet another unconventional pick by the master, Al Davis – Janikowski has had quite a career. Long known for a strong leg and a stronger desire to have a good time, in recent years Janikowski has calmed down off the field. He became a father and dedicated himself more to conditioning.
It’s paid off. He’s 38 years old and looks in midseason form. He nailed all his FG attempts (including a 53 yarder down the middle) this preseason while showing decent touch on kickoffs.
Janikowski is back for what may be his last hurrah, and few players have suffered professionally like he has. When he arrived, the Raiders were a good team poised for a run of success. They dominated the AFC West for three years – until that one Super Bowl.
But from 2000, when he arrived, to 2002, things were good.
For the next 14 years, they were not, and the big man suffered as much as anyone. He was derided, ridiculed, his draft position became a punch line. But it was never fair to him.
Nobody on this roster deserves a return to Raider greatness more than Seabass.
He’s always been a true Raider – a big, strong kicker who speaks his mind, loves to party, and apologizes for nothing. If this is his swan-song, he has his best chance since the early days for it to be a successful one.