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Where Are They Now - The Kickers

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What's up with kickers recently? They're in the spotlight much more than usual, but for all the wrong reasons. We know about the Giants' Jay Feely missing three potential game-winners at Seattle. But what about the Redskins John Hall missing a go-ahead field goal with 32 seconds left, the Jets’ Mike Nugent doing the same thing with 10 seconds left, and Tampa Bay’s Matt Bryant missing a chip-shot 29-yarder that led to the Bucs losing 13-10...and you ask why head coaches die young?

Kicking's no walk in the park, that's for sure. The rest of the team treats you like you're the bus driver. You get a handshake from the second string QB when you make the kicks, and wind up on both the front and back pages of the Daily News when you miss.

That made me wonder, what happens to these guys after they leave this stress factory job? Do they mostly retreat comfortably from the public eye to a life of public appearances, or do they wind up like former Raider Cole Ford and try to take out Siegfried & Roy with a sawed-off. Someone needs to look into what a few of the more memorable NFL kickers are up to these days...I volunteer.

Known as Haji-Shank by the Jersey crowd, Ali Haji-Sheikh spent only three seasons playing for New York, but will be remembered for decades for the gastro-intestinal problems he gave Giants fans. His last two seasons with the team, his scoring percentages were 51 and 40. Then again, he also has the Giants record with a 56 yarder. Tums sales have never been the same since.

Where is he now? If you live in the Tri-state area, you already know this. But for those of you west of Secaucus, Mr Haji-Sheikh sells luxury vehicles at reasonable prices. Want a deal on a new or pre-owned Porsche or Audi...Ali's your guy.

The Norwegian Nightmare...Jan Stenerud (Just made that up, what do ya think?) Jan didn’t even play football until his junior year at college, concentrating instead on skiing and ski jumping. Yet, he went on to become one of only three (that I know of) kickers in the NFL Hall of Fame.

So, what's this late bloomer up to now? He's actually still in sports, in a unique way. He works with Kansas City firm, HMTB Corporation designing stadiums. The first project he worked on was the KC sports complex. And the biggest (as of a 2002 interview) is INVESCO Field at Mile High. Skier, kicker, builder of big things, Norse legend...Jan Stenerud.

One sad note on our list. Toni Fritsch passed away in Vienna, Austria of heart failure at the age of 60. Fritsch kicked for Dallas, San Diego, Houston and New Orleans. It was Tom Landry who lured Toni from soccer to the NFL, where he played in two Super Bowls. And from the picture, he appears to have been very proud of that accomplishment...rightly so.

Albert Louis Del Greco (guineas in the house say yeah!) 17 years in the NFL, playing for the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, and Houston Olier/Tennessee Titans. He's Houston's all-time leading scorer, and member of the elite All-Houston team. (that's right, I said elite)

Al's just an all-around nice guy. These days, he golfs...alot. named Best Pro Athlete Golfer by Golf Magazine, won the NFL Cadillac Classic and donated the $20,000 prize to charity, and sells Al's Pals t-shirts to raise money for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville...what's not to like.

Say it with me. Fuad...FU-AD...Fuuuuuuaaaaaaaad. That's it, he's here for the name, no other reason. (Oh, and he has a home improvement show on something called the DIY Network)

Nick Lowery...18 years in the NFL (3 with the Jets). 1,711 points in his career (5th on the all-time scoring list) And a very impressive 1980’s porn moustache under the helmet.

But check this out...Nick is on this list not only because of his NFL accomplishments, but because he is one of the busiest mother f'ers I've read about. According to his site, He graduated from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, worked with Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton in the White House Office of National Service (probably helping kids stay off drugs, or kick 50 yarders or somnething), and is the only non-Indian Founding Director of the new National Foundation for American Indian Education. Meanwhile, I gave a guy a dollar on the subway, today. (ok, I didn't)

We come to my favorite pass receiving kicker of all time...Efren Herrera. Played in the NFL from 1974 to 1982 for the Cowboys, Seahawks and Bills, Played in two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, but as I've reported before, it's his antics on the Seahawks that I'll remember forever.

Where is he today? Well, I've actually found a few sites with info. 1) He does Super Bowl coverage for Univision from time to time. 2) He narrates the 63-slide presentation "Is It Safe" on the correct use of pesticides in the home. 3) There is an Efren Herrera Scholarship for Latin-American high school students in Southern California...But most importantly 4) I'm not sure if this is him or not (how many Efren Herrera's could there be, anyway) But if it is our Efren, he definitely has the coolest post-NFL job of any of the kickers on this list.

And finally, try finding a google reference for Scott Norwood without the phrase "wide right" attached to it. Giants fans, Bills fans and the writers of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective have blamed Norwood for Buffalo's choke in Super Bowl XXV, but the fact that New York had the ball for over 40 minutes of the game may have had something to do with it as well.

I had a bitch of a time finding any info on Norwood since he retired, finally finding a piece written by Gothamist that claims he was a financial adviser in Virginia up until 2002, participated in several charity golf tourments (All former NFL players must participate in these...it's the law). And he made a "rare public appearance in Buffalo" two years ago for a Jim Kelly charity football game.

Also, Sports Illustrated ran their own "Where Are They Now" feature a couple years back. According to SI, it took Scott years to deal with the miss, but neither the team nor the fans blame him. He's quoted as saying "How can you measure the health and the happiness of three beautiful children against a field goal? Three kids versus three points? "If everything always worked out for you, then you don't have that sense of appreciation" (aaawwwwwwwww...Good for you, Scott.)

PS: The "now" image is not Scott Norwood, but Norwood Scott of the Environmental Protection Agency. You think I've got time to go picture-hunting all day?

Next week...Where Are They Now - Left-Handed Cheerleaders

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said uwxdpcvn hagwcxj on January 12, 2007 1:25 AM.

Hey man lay off Norwood before I tear you a new one. As a Bills fan, I am the first one to use him as the butt of a joke, but when he talks about his kids that's sacred. Besides we owe him dearly for Ace Ventura Pet Detective.

said Zenji on January 22, 2008 6:46 PM.
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