Austin Seibert knows what it’s like to be up, and he knows what it’s like to be down.
The former Oklahoma Sooners kicker, who holds the FBS record for most career points by a kicker with 499, was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He responded by making 25/29 field goal attempts and 30/35 extra points, then was named to the Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) All-Rookie Team.
Then, in the opening game of the 2020 season, in a blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Seibert missed his only field goal attempt, a 40-yard effort, and was 0/1 on extra points.
Then he suddenly found himself without a job.
Cincinnati picked Seibert up when the Browns placed him on waivers after that game, and he eventually nudged out Randy Bullock to become the Bengals’ kicker in a Week 14 loss to Dallas.
Seibert gave a good account of himself in his short audition for the job, making good on 6/8 field goal attempts and converting all eight extra points the rest of the way. The Bengals were comfortable enough with what they saw of Seibert to let Bullock, who is now in Detroit, walk away.
And it certainly didn’t hurt Seibert’s chances that, in addition to being able to handle kickoffs, field goals and extra points, Seibert can also fill in as an emergency punter.
But don’t expect Seibert to just be handed the job. He will certainly face competition in training camp and, as Seibert knows all too well, nothing is guaranteed.
He is off to a good start, but so was Bullock, who had established himself as the most accurate kicker in Bengals’ history until late-season struggles opened the door for Seibert.
Now it’s Seibert’s turn. How long that turn will last is up to him.