Greg Zuerlein (American football)

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Greg Zuerlein
refer to caption
Zuerlein in 2013
No. 4 – Los Angeles Rams
Position:Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1987-12-27) December 27, 1987 (age 30)
Lincoln, Nebraska
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:191 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school:Pius X (Lincoln, Nebraska)
College:Missouri Western
NFL Draft:2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 171
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 4, 2018
Field goals made:154
Field goals attempted:186
Field goal %:82.8
Career long field goal:61
Touchbacks:282
Player stats at NFL.com

Greg Zuerlein (born December 27, 1987) is an American football placekicker for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, he played college football at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Missouri Western.

Early years[edit]

Zuerlein was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and graduated from Lincoln Pius X in 2006. In 2004, Zuerlein set a Nebraska state record for field goals in a season, converting 12-of-16 attempts with a long of 52 yards. His successful play would earn him Nebraska All-State and All-Class honors as a junior and senior.[1]

College career[edit]

Zuerlein attended the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) for three seasons, but sat out the 2010 season with a hip injury. Zuerlein set the UNO school record of 61 consecutive PATs while converting 19 of 26 field goal attempts.

UNO cancelled its football program in 2011, and he moved to another Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association school, Missouri Western State University, in 2011. There, he set a NCAA Division II record of 21 consecutive field goals including nine that were 50 or more yards which in turn included two 58-yard field goals. He had a .952 field goal percentage completing 23 of 24 attempts, which was the highest of any NCAA player in any division with 12 or more attempts in 2011 as he averaged 10.7 points per game.[2][3]

Professional career[edit]

Zuerlein during Rams training camp in 2012

Zuerlein was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the sixth-round (171st overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was the first non-Bowl Championship Series kicker to be drafted since Stephen Gostkowski in 2006, and the first below the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision since Paul Ernster in 2005. The Rams cut their primary kicker Josh Brown, who was in the final year of his $14.5 million five-year deal, the same weekend they drafted Zuerlein.[3][4]

In Week 3, against the Chicago Bears, Zuerlein made a 56-yard field goal, the longest at Soldier Field.[5]

In Week 4, Zuerlein hit a 60-yard field goal against the Seattle Seahawks, which beat the franchise-record of 58 yards, set by Zuerlein earlier in the same game. The kick broke Jeff Wilkins' 14-year record.[6] He also became the first player in NFL history to make a 60-yard field goal and a 50-plus yarder in the same game.

In Week 6, Zuerlein missed three field goals wide left, the first two from 37 and 52 yards, and the final one at 66 yards to tie the game against the Miami Dolphins.[7]

In Week 13, Zuerlein made a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Rams a 16-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Edward Jones Dome. It was the second longest successful field goal in NFL overtime history. The field goal was three yards short of tying the NFL overtime record which is held by Sebastian Janikowski. In 2008, Janikowski set the NFL overtime record with a 57-yard field goal to give the Oakland Raiders the win.

His ability to convert long field goals has earned him the nickname "Greg the Leg."[8] In 2012, he attempted 13 field goals of 50 yards or longer, converting seven; in 2013, he only attempted two such field goals, making one and missing another.[9]

On April 15, 2016, Zuerlein signed a one-year contract to return to the Los Angeles Rams.[10]

On March 14, 2017, Zuerlein signed a three-year contract extension with the Rams.[11]

On September 10, 2017, in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Zuerlein converted three field goals and five extra points in the 46–9 home victory.[12] He tied with Oakland Raiders' kicker Giorgio Tavecchio for the most points scored by a kicker in Week 1 with 14.[13] On October 1, 2017, Zuerlein broke the Rams record for the most field goals in a game going 7 for 7 (surpassing Jeff Wilkins in 2006) against the Dallas Cowboys in the Rams 35–30 upset win, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[14] On November 2, 2017, Zuerlein received the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for his strong performances. In Week 10, Zuerlein converted all four field goals, including a 50-yarder in a 33–7 win over the Houston Texans, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[15] On December 20, 2017, Zuerlein was placed on injured reserve due to a back injury.[16] This news came a day after it was announced the Zuerlein was named to his first Pro Bowl.[17] He finished the season leading the league in scoring with 158 points and 11.3 points per game.[18]

In Week 1 of the 2018 season, Zuerlein converted all three extra point attempts and converted four of five field goal attempts including a 55-yarder in a 33-13 win over the Oakland Raiders, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[19] He suffered a groin injury in pregame warmups before the Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals.[20]

NFL statistics[edit]

Regular season
General Field Goals PATs Kickoffs Points
Season Team GP FGM FGA FG% Blck Long XPM XPA XP% KO Avg TBs Pts
2012 STL 16 23 31 74.2% 0 60 26 26 100.0% 67 67.1 37 95
2013 STL 16 26 28 92.9% 0 54 34 34 100.0% 78 66.4 52 112
2014 STL 14 24 30 80.0% 1 56 34 35 97.1% 73 66.6 38 106
2015 STL 16 20 30 66.7% 3 61 26 28 92.9% 64 65.1 38 86
2016 LA 16 19 22 86.4% 0 54 23 23 100.0% 59 64.3 36 80
2017 LA 14 38 40 95.0% 0 56 44 46 95.7% 95 64.7 73 158
Career 90 150 181 82.9% 4 61 187 192 97.4% 398 65.8 245 593

NFL records and honors[edit]

  • NFC Special Teams Player of the Week - Week 4 (2012), Week 4 (2017), Week 1 (2018)
  • NFC Special Teams Player of the Month- October (2017), November (2017)
  • Longest field goal in Rams history: 61 yards[21]
  • Most 50-yard field goals attempted in a season: 13 (2012)
  • First player in NFL history to make a 60-yard field goal and a 50-plus-yard field goal in one game
  • First player in NFL history to make two field goals of 58+ yards in one game
  • Longest field goal in the first quarter: 58 yards (tied with Nick Lowery)
  • Longest field goal in the third quarter: 60 yards
  • Most 60+ yard field goals made in NFL history: 2 (tied with Sebastian Janikowski)[21]
  • Rams record for highest field goals in one game: 7 (surpassed Jeff Wilkins)
  • Most field goals per game, season - 2.79 (39 field goals/14 games), 2017

Personal life[edit]

Zuerlein and his wife, Megan, have three young children.

Zuerlein was given the nickname "The Leg”.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "St. Louis Rams official website". Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  2. ^ Associated Press. "Rams pick K Greg Zuerlein of Missouri Western in sixth round". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2012.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b Sipple, Steven M. (April 28, 2012). "Pius X grad Zuerlein gets sixth-round call from Rams". Lincoln Journal Star. Journalstar.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  4. ^ Associated Press (April 28, 2012). "St. Louis Rams to release veteran kicker Josh Brown - ESPN". Espn.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  5. ^ Mayer, Larry (September 18, 2012). "Bears cruise behind strong defensive effort". Chicagobears.com. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  6. ^ Associated Press (September 30, 2012). "Greg Zuerlein makes St. Louis Rams-record 60-yard field goal". NFL.com. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  7. ^ "NFL Football Highlights, Clips & Analysis - NFL.com". www.nfl.com.
  8. ^ "Greg Zuerlein". ESPN.com.
  9. ^ "Greg Zuerlein Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  10. ^ "'Legatron' agrees to 1-year deal to kick for Rams". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  11. ^ Simmons, Myles (March 14, 2017). "Rams Agree to Terms with K Greg Zuerlein". TheRams.com.
  12. ^ "Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams - September 10th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Player Game Finder Query". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Deshaun Watson, Todd Gurley among Players of Week". NFL.com. October 4, 2017.
  15. ^ Maya, Adam (November 15, 2017). "Tom Brady, Cam Newton among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  16. ^ Simmons, Myles (December 20, 2017). "Rams Place Greg Zuerlein on IR, Sign Ficken". TheRams.com.
  17. ^ "NFL announces 2018 Pro Bowl rosters". NFL.com. December 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "2017 NFL Scoring Summary". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  19. ^ Teope, Herbie (September 12, 2018). "Mahomes, Fitzpatrick among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  20. ^ "Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein out 3-6 weeks with groin injury". Rams Wire. 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  21. ^ a b "Greg Zuerlein makes 61-yard field goal". espn.go.com. November 8, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  22. ^ Beattie, Trent (November 12, 2016). "Kicking Field Goals From St. Louis to Los Angeles: Record-setting Rams' kicker Greg Zuerlein". National Catholic Register. EWTN News, Inc. Retrieved 2016-11-12.

External links[edit]