Sebastian Janikowski moved to Oakland as a character when Al Davis made the 17th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Some seventeen years later, Janikowski remains quite the Raider. “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” the veteran kicker quipped when asked his first question during the Raiders’ media session last week. That, of course, is the tagline made famous by now-Raider Marshawn Lynch.
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“Until they kick me out,” and, “I hope so, that’s my goal. That’s not my decision,” Janikowski answered when asked how much longer does he anticipate playing and will he suit up in Vegas.
While his humor has changed little, Janikowski’s approach to the game has morphed dramatically.
“He’s very receptive to coaching, he’s very coachable, and I think it’s his work ethic,” said Raiders Special Teams coach Brad Seely. “He takes care of his body, he really works hard in practice, he wants to be good at his craft, and I can’t say enough about him in that I’ve coached a lot of great kickers in my career, and you just put him in that list of guys.”
Now, he’s an avid watcher of film, thanks to Seely. Also, a consistent presence in the weight room, Seabass revitalized himself. Also, the re-tooled approach shows the 39-year-old Polish Cannon could be kicking well into his 40s. But, will he finish as a Raider?
This season is the finale of a five-year, $18.9 million pact he inked back in 2013. Slated to make $4.05 million this year, Janikowski missed six kicks last season to finish 29 of 35 (82.9 percent). However, those six set from beyond 40-plus yards. His career-best percentage came in 2012 (31 of 34, 91.2 percent. Since 2010, Janikowski is 30 of 51 from 50-plus. Considering many of his boots are on the O.co infield dirt, it’s especially impressive.
But that doesn’t preclude the Raiders from pursuing someone new. A better blend of accuracy and power, could eventually suit them.
Watching Number 11 trot onto the field remains a Raiders tradition. After all, the Raiders have known no other kicker than Seabass since 2000. But, didn’t we the same exact thing of Shane Lechler, the punter taken in the same 2000 draft?