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Chandler Catanzaro hopes to bring continuity to Bucs’ kicking game

New kicker, on his third team in three years, says the biggest pressure will be what he puts on himself.
New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro, introduced Friday, has hit 84 percent of his field goal attempts in four years in the NFL.
(James Borchuck, Times)
New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro, introduced Friday, has hit 84 percent of his field goal attempts in four years in the NFL. (James Borchuck, Times)
Published Mar. 16, 2018
Updated Mar. 16, 2018

Chandler Catanzaro understands the pressure he faces to end a long, frustrating run of disappointing kickers changed out every year by the Bucs.

This fall will be the sixth straight season Tampa Bay has a different kicker than the season before, but the 27-year-old is hopeful he can bring stability to a position that's sorely missed it.

"I promise you, it's hard to believe, but I put more pressure on myself than anybody ever can or will, to succeed and kick well and do my best and reach my potential," said Catanzaro, who kicked for the Jets last year after three seasons with the Cardinals. "I hold myself to a very high standard."

The Bucs have invested heavily in kickers before, using a second-round draft pick in Robert Aguayo in 2016, then giving veteran Nick Folk $1.75 million last year, only to see him gone after missing seven kicks in his first four games.

Catanzaro got $9.75 million over three years from Tampa Bay, enough to rank him 11th among NFL kickers in annual salary. He has hit 84 percent of his field goals in the NFL and didn't miss an extra point last season. He has a strong leg, with field goals from 60 and 57 yards in the last two years, and should be a considerable improvement on kickoffs, after the Bucs finished last in the league in touchback percentage last season.

"I'm so pumped to have the contract signed, ready to get to work and excited to be a Buccaneer," Catanzaro said. "I'm looking forward to doing my thing this season, just really excited about the opportunity and thankful."

Catanzaro's first three years in Arizona were indoors, on a good surface, and he was tested last season in New York with an outdoor stadium and cold weather. He should have less wind (and warmer weather) in Tampa — he played at Raymond James Stadium with the Jets last year, hitting a 47-yard field goal and making an extra point in a 15-10 loss to the Bucs.

It's been a huge month for Catanzaro — he and wife Mieke got married on March 3, and he had just returned home Tuesday from a honeymoon in St. Lucia when he learned of the Bucs' interest and the chance for a new start in Tampa.

"It's been a whirlwind," he said. "I don't even know what day it is today. We got back Tuesday night, and I started hearing things from Tampa and I got really excited. It's the Southeast, it's a great place to kick, great organization on the rise, really on the cusp of greatness. We've got a lot of talent here, a young team."