John Lee (placekicker)

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John Lee
No. 10
Position: Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1964-05-19) May 19, 1964 (age 54)
Seoul, South Korea
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 182 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school: Downey
College: UCLA
NFL Draft: 1986 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Field goal attempts: 13
Field goals made: 8
Field goal %: 61.5
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR
John Lee
Hangul 이민종[1]
Revised Romanization I Min-jong
McCune–Reischauer I Minjong

John Lee (Hangul이민종; RRI Min-jong; born May 19, 1964) is a former American football placekicker. He played college football for the UCLA Bruins, where he was a two-time All-American. Lee was selected in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 32nd overall pick. He played one season with the Cardinals and was the first Korean to play in the NFL. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.

NCAA records held or tied[edit]

  • Broke the Pacific-10 Conference single game field goal record (since matched by two others) with six made against the San Diego State Aztecs in 1984.
  • Holds the highest percentage of extra points and field goals made in a career with 93.3% (116 of 117 PATs, 79 of 92 FGs).
  • Most field goals made per game for a season (2.6, 1984, 29 in 11 games) and in a career (1.84, 79 in 43 games)
  • Highest percentage of field goals made in a season (100%, 1984, 16 out of 16) and in a career (minimum 55 attempts) (85.9%, 79 out of 92)
  • Highest percentage of field goals made under 40 yards in a season (minimum 16 made) (100%, 1984, 16 out of 16) and in a career (minimum 40 made) (96.4%, 54 of 56)
  • Most times kicking four field goals in a game in a career (six times)
  • Most games in which field goal provided the winning margin in a career (ten times)

Rose Bowl record[edit]

Lee played in the 1983, 1984 and 1986 Rose Bowl, and was an integral part of the success of the UCLA Bruins during his college career, as evidenced by his conference-leading accuracy and the 10 games won by the margin of a field goal.[2] He holds the Rose Bowl career record of 24 most scoring points made by kicking, 1983 UCLA vs. Michigan (3 PAT, 1 FG), 1984 UCLA vs. Illinois (6 PAT, 1 FG) and 1986 UCLA vs. Iowa (6 PAT, 1 FG).[3] The 15 total PAT points in three games also is a record and the 6 PAT-points in each of the two games ranks second in Rose Bowl history.

Professional career[edit]

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

Lee was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft, making him one of the highest placekickers ever drafted and the first East Asia native to play in the NFL. On July 27 Lee agreed to a four-year $900,000 contract, making him the highest paid player at his position in the league.[4] The contract for a player observers expected to be a "sure-fire" star included a $250,000 signing bonus.[5]

Although Lee made his first six kicks in preseason,[6] he unexpectedly suffered through a slump and began missing field goals. Without a kicking tee Lee also could not get adequate distance on kickoffs—something he did not have to do in college, with its larger rosters—and lost his confidence. Coach Gene Stallings said "His leg just wasn't strong enough".[5] Lee made eight of 13 field goals as a rookie, before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and missing the last five regular season games. Lee was waived on September 8, 1987.[7]

Los Angeles Raiders[edit]

In 1988, he was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Raiders to compete with incumbent kicker Chris Bahr, who struggled in 1987. He was waived on August 22, after missing 2 out of 3 field goals in preseason.[8]

Personal life[edit]

After leaving the NFL, he was involved in his family real estate business.


  1. ^ 박병기 [Bak Byeong-gi]; [Jang Yun-ho] (2006-09-27), "NFL 한국계 스타, 하인스 워드만 있는게 아냐", JoongAng Ilbo, retrieved 2011-09-28 
  2. ^ "UCLA To Induct New Hall of Fame Class". CSTV. 2001-10-10. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  3. ^ Rose Bowl Historical Media Guide, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, December 2009
  4. ^ Ostler, Scott (1986-07-28). "UCLA Placekicker John Lee Agrees to Sign Four-Year Cardinal Contract for $900,000". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ a b Bonk, Thomas (1987-10-01). "NO LEEWAY : When John Lee Suddenly Became Less Than Automatic, the Cardinals Gave Him the Boot". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Landman, Brian (1986-08-21). "John Lee Is Off on the Right Foot : Ex-Bruin Place Kicker Goes 6 for 6 in First 3 Pro Games". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ "Cardinals Cut Ex-UCLA Kicker Lee". Los Angeles Times. 1987-09-09. 
  8. ^ Heisler, Mark (1988-08-23). "Lee Is Cut by Raiders, but He Takes It in Stride". Los Angeles Times.