AFC East: Ben Graham

Kickers are people, too

February, 3, 2009
2/03/09
9:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The latest Pro Football Hall of Fame class was chosen Saturday. It was the 47th election, and for the 46th time, a full-time kicker or punter wasn't in the group.

They simply don't rate.

That's why Rick Sang founded the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame last year.

"The most impacting statement is that in 90 years of pro football, there's only one kicker inducted," Sang said. "You think about that. It's a major void.

 
  Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
  Jan Stenerud is the only kicker on the Hall of Fame.

"The American Football Kicking Hall of Fame was about being proactive and not complaining about what the NFL wasn't doing. Their names aren't even coming up. There's so many guys you have to think about 'Who are they?'

"We just don't want them to be forgotten."

While part-time kickers such as Sammy Baugh, George Blanda and Lou Groza are enshrined in Canton, Jan Stenerud is the only pure leg-swinger to be honored.

The Kicking Hall of Fame inducted its second class two weeks ago. Added to the inaugural class of Baugh, Blanda, Groza and Jim Thorpe were Ray Guy, Pete Gogolak and Ben Agajanian.

"You make fun of kickers for not getting their uniforms dirty, or you say 'They don't hardly play.' And then you turn around and induct an owner," said Sang, also the director of ProKicker.com and a member of the Greater Augusta Sports Council in Georgia.

"It's a team sport, and if you're the best at your position and you impacted the game you deserve to be recognized."

Not acknowledging kickers isn't limited to Canton. Three AFC East teams fete their finest -- the Buffalo Bills have a Wall of Fame, the Miami Dolphins have an Honor Roll, the New England constructed the Hall at Patriot Place -- and none salute a kicker.

With Sang's cause in mind, here are the greatest kickers and punters in each AFC East club's history:

(Read full post)

Around the AFC East: Brady settles on surgeon

September, 30, 2008
9/30/08
9:56
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Around the AFC East: Patriots roundtable

September, 24, 2008
9/24/08
10:51
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Around the AFC East: Moss next up for Fins DBs

September, 17, 2008
9/17/08
11:43
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Jets facing kicker crisis for second half

September, 7, 2008
9/07/08
2:41
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- It doesn't look like New York Jets kicker Mike Nugent is returning to the field.

The Jets are holding impromptu tryouts for their kicking duties as they warm up for the second half.

Backup QB Kellen Clemens and S Kerry Rhodes are trying kickoffs. Punter Ben Graham, a former Australian-rules football player, is attempting drop kicks from about 35 yards out and making about half of them.

Thankfully for the Jets, the Dolphins are kicking off to start the half.

Nugent suffered a thigh injury in the first quarter. It's uncertain when he got hurt, but he limped off the field after an unsuccessful 32-yard field-goal attempt with 3:31 left in the first quarter. The Jets went for a two-point conversion after scoring a second-quarter touchdown. Graham took the ensuing kickoff, but drove it only 43 yards off the tee.

Jets scrimmage in rain delay

August, 2, 2008
8/02/08
1:50
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- We're in a rain delay at Shuart Stadium.

The New York Jets' intrasquad scrimmage has been paused because of ominous weather. A steady rain began shortly after the Green & White started. The stands were evacuated, but the Jets played on as the sky grew darker. The atmosphere took on a Friday night, under-the-lights feel.

But, with lightning in the area, Jets coach Eric Mangini cleared the field a few moments ago even though there still was about 5:40 left in the first half.

We're awaiting word whether the scrimmage will resume.

There's not much to report. The weather made Hofstra University's synthetic surface slick. The drawn-together lineups lacked chemistry, as evidenced by the number of sacks (there's no tackling, but common sense dictated when officials blew their whistles).

A few plays that stood out:

  • Chad Pennington laid a downfield block on a Brad Smith reverse, then threw a 27-yard strike to Jerricho Cotchery at the left end zone sideline to put the Green up 7-0 (the only points so far).
  • The TD is Pennington's lone completion in four attempts so far. Kellen Clemens is 4 of 7 for 60 yards. Brett Ratliff is 3 of 4 for 21 yards. No interceptions yet.
  • OLB Vernon Gholston was on the right side against LT Jacob Bender, who was absorbing the sixth overall pick quite well. Traction on the slippery turf is a problem.

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