Monday, December 2, 2002
Richey not surprised he's gone
SAN DIEGO -- Erratic kicker Wade Richey was cut by the San
Diego Chargers on Monday, a day after he was benched midgame for
sending a kickoff out of bounds.
Richey was making $525,000 this year just to kick off. He lost
his placekicking job late last season when the Chargers signed
Steve Christie, one of the best clutch kickers in NFL history.
General manager John Butler signed Richey in April 2001 as a
restricted free agent from San Francisco after the Chargers revoked
their offer to popular longtime kicker John Carney.
Butler was undergoing treatment for his lung cancer on Monday
and wasn't available for comment, a team spokesman said.
"I was prepared for it to happen,'' Richey said. "I went in
today knowing there was a good chance I'll be cut. I've been around
long enough to know if you're not producing, you have to go. I was
hurting this team.''
Even before he came to San Diego, Richey earned the nickname
"Wide'' Richey because he had only a 75 percent field-goal
accuracy rate in three seasons with San Francisco. He missed 11 of
32 attempts with the Chargers last year and his career percentage
dropped to 72.1 percent.
The Chargers kept Richey because of his strong leg on kickoffs --
he was second in the NFL with 16 touchbacks -- but he's kicked
several out of bounds this year.
The one in Sunday's 30-27 overtime win over Denver was a big
factor. With the Chargers (8-4) leading 21-10 after LaDainian
Tomlinson's third touchdown of the second quarter, it gave the
Broncos the ball at their 40. Three plays later, Clinton Portis
scored to pull the Broncos to 21-17.
Schottenheimer screamed at Richey on the sideline after the
kickoff went out of bounds. Christie handled the next kickoff and
Richey got one more shot, but sent the opening kick of the second
half only to the Denver 19. Christie did the rest of the kicking.
"It was time to make a change,'' Schottenheimer said Monday.
Schottenheimer wasn't sure if the Chargers will sign another
kicker. Until they make up their minds, Christie will handle
The Chargers have two roster spots available. Besides the one
vacated by Richey, defensive tackle Jamal Williams went on injured
reserve after undergoing surgery on his dislocated left ankle.
Although Christie has kicked two game-winning field goals in
overtime this year, he's only 11-for-18 overall (61.1 percent).
Christie kicked the winning 27-yard field goal with 3:01 left in
overtime Sunday, but he had a 38-yarder blocked earlier in overtime
and missed two in regulation.
Schottenheimer blamed the blocked field goal on poor footing at
Qualcomm Stadium. "It was kind of greasy out there,''
"But he made the one he had to make to win the game,''
Schottenheimer said. "As long as he keeps doing that, we're all
It was Christie's ninth overtime field goal, tying him for the
career lead with Jim Breech.
While the Chargers' kicking game has struggled, Carney is
48-for-55 (87.2 percent) in two seasons with New Orleans.