It's been a long fall for Vanderjagt

Mike Vanderjagt endured a frustrating season with Dallas in 2006, and is currently still without a team for 2007.
Has anybody seen this man's talent?

Mike Vanderjagt, as recently as 2005 the most accurate kicker in NFL history, is currently without a job, without very many suitors and -- apparently -- without the ability to kick the ball straight any longer.

Even the Giants, who have only untested rookies Josh Huston and Mark Hickok, and who seem to be turning over every stone to find a veteran kicker to compete with the kids, have thus far passed on Vanderjagt.

To show you how far Vanderjagt has fallen, he reportedly attended the same tryout for the Giants that Hickok did a couple of months back.

As we know, the Giants signed Hickok, who kicked at the University of Connecticut a few years back and most recently in Arena Football League 2. Vanderjagt is still on the street looking for work.

How did this seemingly sudden fall from grace happen to one of the premier kickers in NFL history?

During 9 years with the Colts, Vanderjagt was pretty close to automatic. In 2003 he was perfect, becoming only the 4th NFL kicker to make all his field-goal attempts (37-for-37) and also making all 46 of his extra points.

He also owns the longest streak of consecutive field goals in NFL history (41) and has a career percentage of 86.5 on field-goal attempts.

You have to wonder if one horrible kick derailed what had been a brilliant career. With the Colts trailing the Steelers, 21-18, in the waning seconds of the 2005 AFC Championship Game, Vanderjagt badly shanked a 46-yard attempt, missing it way right.

It seems nothing has gone right for him since. First, the Colts signed Adam Vinatieri to take his place. Then, after signing a three-year contract with Dallas, Vanderjagt kicked horribly.

He went just 13-for-18 and the 72.2% ratio was the worst of his career. After only 10 games, the Cowboys cut him.

Amazingly, in a league where mediocre kickers seem to turn up with team after team, Vanderjagt has not kicked for anyone since.

Maybe the lack of opportunity for Vanderjagt also has something to do with his well-known propensity for shooting his mouth off. A kicker can probably get away with that when he is successful, but when he is struggling nobody wants to hear from him.

I can't believe, however, that no one has yet been willing to take a chance on this guy.

I will be stunned if Vanderjagt isn't on someone's roster to open the season. In the end, it wouldn't even surprise me if that team ends up being the Giants.

Your thoughts?

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