He’s been to 30-plus workouts for NFL teams and arrived at four
different training camps hopeful but certainly never assured of a
Nick Novak finally has a kicking job to call his own.
won the competition Friday when the Chiefs informed him he will be
their kicker when the regular season begins Sept. 7 against the
Patriots in New England. They also told rookie Connor Barth he would be
placed on waivers.
Novak, 27, has kicked in 16 games for
Washington and Arizona but always as a temporary injury replacement and
never as an incumbent.
“It’s awesome when you work so hard and
then something like this finally happens,” Novak said. “It’s been a
great seven months of competition, and now I can put it all behind me
and look ahead to what I hope is a long career kicking for the Chiefs.
To have it all finally come together like this and realize my dream of
being an NFL kicker, it feels like I’m walking on the moon.
confidence is definitely there. I fully believe I’ll go up to New
England and hit the game-winning field goal for the Chiefs.”
keep the job, Novak will need to fare better than Justin Medlock or
Dave Rayner, two of last year’s three Chiefs kickers. They combined to
make just 16 of 24 field-goal attempts.
While the Chiefs would
prefer Novak kicks for them all season and beyond, when they sent Barth
home they advised him to keep his cell phone close at all times.
told me that if Nick doesn’t do as well as they think he will, I should
stay ready,” said Barth, who kicked the last four years in college at
The Chiefs didn’t announce the move because of
what coach Herm Edwards called “competitive” reasons. Without
identifying the kicker they kept, Edwards said, “That was always a
tough one. You just weigh all of the situations. They both did a great
job. We feel they both can kick in this league. It’s just a matter of
picking a guy and sometimes when you’re in that situation the
competition is so close it’s your gut and what you feel you have to do.