Nobody said being an NFL kicker is an easy job. The amount of pressure each player faces is insane. You either are the hero or the villain, and sometimes the expectation to be perfect is simply too much. Just ask New York Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro.
Training camp wasn't going well. The 28-year-old veteran was struggling. Then, the day after he missed two extra-point attempts in the Jets' preseason loss to the New York Giants last Thursday night, Catanzaro walked into head coach Adam Gase's office and said he was retiring, effective immediately.
The regular season is less than a month away, but it was apparently time for Catanzaro to quit anyway.
Since signing with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie out of Clemson in 2014, Catanzaro made 119 of his 142 field goal attempts, including one from 60 yards out, as a member of the Cardinals, Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers. He also converted 182 of 196 PATs. Those are quality numbers, even though he never made a Pro Bowl.
However, enough was enough.
"What a ride. God has blessed me far more than I deserve. When I finished my career at Clemson, playing in the NFL was just a dream. After five years in the league, it's time to move on. I can't say I ever thought I would've been a kicker, but I'm thanking that kicking chose me.
"I thank God for my ability every day, and I'm forever grateful for all the game of football has provided. I've been through the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and everything in between. I've learned so much about myself and about life through the game of football. I have no regrets, I worked my tail off and gave my absolute best every time I stepped onto the field.
"What will remain, however, are the relationships I've built along the way. I want to wholeheartedly thank everyone for the prayers and encouragement along my journey. For my parents and my family for tirelessly supporting me and my dreams.
"For my wife Mieke for her unconditional love and support and reminding me what is most important in life. For all of my teammates. For the coaches who believed in me the most -- you know who you are. It's time for the next chapter of my life, The best is yet to come!"
-- Chandler Catanzaro
According to ESPN, the Jets hosted a bunch of free-agent kickers over the weekend and signed Taylor Bertolet, who was on the team's training camp roster last year and recently played for the Salt Lake City Stallions of the Alliance of American Football.
Missing two extra points in the preseason opener is not a big deal. Those things happen. The Jets didn't seem too upset with Catanzaro, who signed this past offseason to replace Jason Myers. Myers is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
However, since kicker Chandler Catanzaro quit, he must give back his $500,000 signing bonus to the Jets.
Catanzaro walked away from a lot of money and the Jets are scrambling to find a new kicker. The good news is they have preseason games with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles to figure it out before hosting the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.
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