Ken Willis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ken Willis
No. 1, 3
Position: Kicker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1966-10-06) October 6, 1966 (age 50)
Place of birth: Owensboro, Kentucky
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school: Owensboro (KY)
College: Kentucky
Undrafted: 1990
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • 3× Academic All-SEC (1987, 1988, 1989)
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Robert Kenneth Willis II (born October 6, 1966 in Owensboro, Kentucky) is a former American football placekicker in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Giants. He played college football at the University of Kentucky.

Early years[edit]

Willis attended Owensboro High School where he was a punter and a kicker. He also lettered in soccer.

He moved on to play for Centre College, before transferring to the University of Kentucky at the end of his first year. As a sophomore, he handled all of the team's kickoffs. The next season, he earned the placekicker starting job. In his last year he made 17 out of 22 field goal attempts, leaving as the school's most accurate kicker with a .707 percentage (29 of 41 field goals).

A Math major, he received Academic All-SEC honors three years in a row.

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Willis was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 1990 and earned the starting job over Luis Zendejas. In 1991, he tied franchise records with 9 straight field goals, 27 field goals made and set one with four 50-yarders (including a 54-yard field goal). He also finished as the NFC's second-leading kicker with 118 points and had a team record 39 attempts.

He was left unprotected in Plan B free agency after accepting a $25,000 dollars advance on his salary and agreeing verbally with the Cowboys that he would not sign with any other team. After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost Steve Christie in a similar situation, they targeted Willis as their replacement and convinced him to sign a two-year deal potentially worth more than $800,000 dollars (including a $100,000 signing bonus),[1] leaving the Cowboys scrambling for a kicker.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

After struggling (8 out of 14 field goal made) and missing 3 critical attempts during 7 games span the, he was replaced with Eddie Murray and released on November 10, 1992.[2]

New York Giants[edit]

On November 21, 1992, he signed with the New York Giants to replace an injured Matt Bahr (sprained right knee).[3] He played in 6 games and didn't miss a field goal or an extra point. The next year, he suffered a career-ending stress fracture in his left leg during training camp and was waived injured on July 27, 1993.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Willis pursued a career in teaching after football. He is currently a math teacher at Bentonville High School but previously at Lafayette High School. He was also a middle school math teacher in the Owensboro Public School system.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bucs Lure Willis From Cowboys". Orlando Sentinel. February 11, 1992. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bucs Sign Kicker Murray And Cut Drewrey, Junior, Willis". Orlando Sentinel. November 11, 1992. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Willis Set to Kick for Giants". The New York Times. November 22, 1992. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Stress Fracture Means Giants Won't Get Kicks Out of Willis". The New York Times. July 24, 1993. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ "UK kicker Willis uses brains to stay a leg up". Retrieved February 19, 2017. 

External links[edit]