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What you need to know about new Bucs kicker Cairo Santos

The Buccaneers signed Cairo Santos on Monday after cutting Chandler Catanzaro.
 
The Bucs are signing kicker Cairo Santos, according to a NFL Network report.
The Bucs are signing kicker Cairo Santos, according to a NFL Network report.
Published Nov. 13, 2018|Updated Nov. 13, 2018

TAMPA — The Bucs signed a kicker Monday who has seen his fair share of NFL cities over the past calendar year.

About a year ago, Cairo Santos signed a contract to kick for the Chicago Bears. He wound up failing to make the Jets roster but he found an opportunity with theRams for two games this season.

Now after his travels, Santos arrives in Tampa.

It hasn't always been this way. It wasn't long ago that Santos served as the entrenched starter for the Chiefs from 2014-16 until injuries derailed his season in 2017.

To get to Tampa alone, Santos has experienced quite an NFL journey. But him making it to the NFL in the first place took Santos making history.

Here's what you need to know about Tampa Bay's new kicker:

Santos is the first Brazilian-born NFL player

NFL Network went into detail on Santos' journey from Sau Paulo, Brazil, to the U.S. and the NFL.

Santos learned American football when he moved to St. Augustine, as a foreign exchange student in high school. He went on to kick for Tulane in college, where he won the Lou Groza Award given to the nation's best kicker as a junior.

• During Santos' senior year in college, his father, Cairo Santos Sr., died in a plane crash. He was a commercial airline pilot and a became a stunt pilot. Santos Sr. died while performing a stunt in an air show on Sept. 15, 2013. The two used to fly together when Santos Jr. was a child. 

The Chiefs signed Santos in 2014 as an undrafted free agent. He went on to win their kicking job over Ryan Succop, the Titans kicker who spent 2009-13 with Kansas City. Santos tied Succop for the then Chiefs record for field goals from a rookie with 25.

• In his second NFL season, Santos put together a seven-field goal performance against the Bengals in Week 4, including two that went for 50 or more yards. The NFL record for one game is eight field goals.

Santos' best season in Kansas City came in 2016. He kicked a career-long 54-yard field goal and made 31 of 35 field goals attempts. The NFL named him AFC Special Teams Player of the Month after a November in which he made all 11 field goal attempts, which included a game-winner against the Broncos in overtime.

Things changed quickly in 2017, as they often can for NFL kickers. A groin injury hampered Santos right before the season. He played in the first handful of games, but the Chiefs placed him on injured reserve then released him in late September. He signed with the Bears in late November, only to miss his first attempt, a 54-yarder. He played in only two games with the Bears. Santos replaced former Buccanneers kicker Connor Barth.

After the Jets cut him out of camp, Santos landed a job as Greg Zuerlein's temporary replacement in Los Angeles for two games this season while Zuerlein nursed a groin injury. Santos made a 39-yard game-winning field goal in his first game as a Ram.

Numbers to know

84.1 is Santos' career field-goal percentage.

95.7 is Santos' career point after attempt percentage. He has made 132 of 138 attempts.

1 blocked field goal and one blocked point after attempt in 55 career games.

Contact Nick Kelly at nkelly@tampabay.com. Follow @_NickKelly