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Bucs kicker Connor Barth to miss season

TAMPA — Connor Barth was trying to give back to his community by playing in a charity basketball game Friday to benefit the Wilmington, N.C., Police Recreation Association. Tickets for the game at Brogden Hall on the campus of New Hanover High School were $10 for adults and $5 for children.

It wound up costing Barth a lot more than that.

The Bucs kicker, who starred at the University of North Carolina, suffered a torn Achilles tendon in his right leg and will miss the 2013 season. The 27-year-old Barth had successful surgery Monday in Charlotte to repair the injury, but he was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, the team announced Wednesday.

The Bucs quickly acquired an accomplished replacement, signing former Chiefs and Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, 35, to a one-year contract. Tynes was a Pro Bowl alternate with the Giants last season but became a free agent in March.

"We are disappointed to lose a productive player like Connor but are very fortunate to be able to sign an experienced kicker at this time of year," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said. "Lawrence and his agent, Ken Harris, had other standing opportunities, but we are pleased that they thought this was the right place for Lawrence to continue his career."

Barth was entering the second year of a four-year, $13.2 million contract he signed shortly after being designated the Bucs' franchise player in 2012. Because Barth was injured in a non-football-related activity, the Bucs could decide not to pay his $2.3 million base salary for 2013.

Barth declined to comment Wednesday. "Once my agent gives me the okay, I will be able to talk," Barth said in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times.

Barth made a team-record 84.3 percent of his field goal attempts since signing with the Bucs midway through the 2009 season. In 2011, he set a single-season franchise record by making 26 of 28 tries for a success rate of 92.9 percent.

The Bucs were fortunate to land Tynes, who had not accepted offers from any of the three NFL teams that reached out to him over the past month, according to Harris.

Tynes had 145 points last season, ranking second in the NFL, and the second-most field goals in the league with 33.

"We had other things sitting there that we wanted to act on and could've," Harris said. "I kept saying, 'The right situation will come up,' and it did. I agree they were lucky from the standpoint that (Tynes) was available, but it was really a matter of us waiting for the right thing to open up.

"There are arguably no tougher conditions to kick in than the pressure cooker of New York and the iffy weather of the Meadowlands. And he's made big kicks in the playoffs and Super Bowls."

Harris said Tynes has been working out on his own during the offseason at his home in Kansas City and has remained in great shape.

Meanwhile, Barth faces a long recovery from the torn Achilles in his right kicking leg.

The charity game was organized by Bills defensive tackle Jay Ross and included other NFL players such as Chiefs receiver Terrence Cooper and former Ravens fullback Vonta Leach.

"We're both sick to our stomachs about what happened to Connor," Harris said. "It's really a fraternity with kickers, and we feel terrible for him. But these situations, terrible as they are, is why we felt something would pop up and be a better location for Lawrence."

Bucs kicker Connor Barth to miss season 07/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 9:04pm]
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