I was somewhat saddened by the firing of our beloved psychopathic kicker. He contributed a great deal to the pleasure of Steeler Nation. Dye-jobs, season-beards, urination in undesignated areas, abuse of gas station property, short kick offs, long excuses, and the occasional abuse of the fans. Ah, Skippy, we'll miss ya!
But his departure means something different to me...
In early June this year, I went to Steelers Men's Fantasy Camp. For those not familiar, the Steelers bring in alumni and at least one current player to instruct old men like me in the ways of Steelers football. I highly recommend it!
Our instuctors were Bubby Brister (quarterbacks), Yancey Thigpen (receivers), Mike Wagner (defensive backs), John Kolb (offensive lineman), John Banasak (defensive lineman), Levon Kirkland (linebackers) and Jeff Reed (kickers for some reason).
As we rotated through each drill, every alumni did their utmost to show us the basics of the position. And each of them was wonderful. Bubby Brister was spectacularly funny, Kirkland made me do push ups after I told him I was a pacifist, John Kolb had us bear crawling up hills at St. Vincent College, and Yancey might be the coolest mofo I have ever met. It was the very best sports experience of my life. The guys were all good to us, made time to talk, answered questions and Brister took us out to Sharky's for more than a few beers!
Everyone did their best....except Skippy.
His instruction consisted of little more than "This is a football. This is a foot. This is an upright. Kick." Then he stood back and talked to one of the trainers.
He did however enlighten us as to how "the quarterback" was treated better than him because he was a star, how he was treated poorly at UNC (tried to make him quit by running stairs), how he is always week to week, how the media gets it all wrong about him (he did not piss in public, it was Matt Spaeth according to Reed), and how pleased he was that he has two SB rings. He also said he loves Pittsburgh and the Rooneys.
Personally, I was not really into kicking instruction. I think kicking should be eliminated from the sport. But there were guys who wanted to learn and Skippy did not seem to give two shits. Maybe he was being made to be there, but there was no effort on his part. He was not particularly approachable either. He was just "there". On a side note, he is a big dude as far as kickers go. His thighs are huge. I don't know why he is not capable of longer kick offs.
Reed struck me as a typical spoiled athlete. And that might have been a bigger straw that finally broke the kickers back than the kicks he missed.
I for one think cutting him was a mistake. We are going to need a kick or two in December. And although he seemed to be a douche, he was our douche.