Now Ravens fans can cheer for Shayne Graham for being not only their kicker on their fantasy team and scoring a ton of points; they can root for the former Cincinnati Bengals kicker because he could be Baltimore’s kicker this year.
The newly signed Ravens kicker joined Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark on “The Morning Reaction” to talk about becoming the newest member of the Baltimore Ravens.
He said that despite hearing nothing but congratulations since he arrived at the Ravens facility last week, Baltimore fans actually started rooting for him years back even when he was a member of the divisional rival Cincinnati Bengals.
“I think that was ’05 when I had a game-winner at a buzzer, and I think it was ’07 or ’08, I had seven in one game,” Graham said. ” Normally fans are pretty hostile and hanging over the railing, but after the fourth or fifth field goal of the game, the Baltimore fans were cheering me on and wishing me well.”
“They were saying I was their fantasy kicker and to get one more field goal, which I thought it was a pretty cool feeling. It’s going to be a different feeling being in that stadium and having that all the time instead of having to kick a bunch of field goals to get guys pulling for you.”
The 10 year veteran out of Virginia Tech, Graham, who spent the last seven season with the Cincinnati Bengals, ended months of speculation and finally signed a 1 year deal to compete with incumbent kicker Billy Cundiff for the starting nod when the Ravens begin the regular season.
With incentives, he could make up to 2.5 million.
A former Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection in 2005, Graham has been one of the most consistent kickers in the business lately, as of 2010 he ranks as the fourth most accurate kicker in NFL history, connecting on 85% of his field goals in his career.
Graham said that his good numbers over the years has really been due to his hard work and persistence he has put into kicking in the NFL.
“I feel like I’ve worked hard over the years, and I always felt like Ive been a good kicker,” Graham said.
And now that Graham’s journey has taken him here to Baltimore, he is very excited for a fresh start after his ousting in Cincinnati for missing two field goals in the playoffs last year against the Jets.
And the excitement of being here in Baltimore has grown even more with the fact that over the years he heard a lot of things about the Ravens organization, and to see those good things come to fruition, Graham said he has never been more excited to be part of a new team than he has with the Ravens.
“There has been nothing but positive things to say about this organization. Every office job has had nothing but compliments even before I got here.”
And the other thing that makes Graham special is that he is ready to go out and compete for the job with Cundiff right off the bat.
“Both of us expect to do what we can do to make it so we are the guy. He was the guy at the end here last year. Ive been a starter for seven years, and I don’t expect anything else than that now.”
And the competition is already under way, as in yesterday’s final OTAs, both kickers ran drills where the offense was marching down the field, had to rush for a field goal, and then the kickers had to get iced. Both kickers performed well, including each of them making 60 yard field goals.
This competition could come down to the end of the wire just like last year’s battle between rookie Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka, except with Graham and Cundiff, the decision is based on which good kicker is better rather than which of last year’s kickers struggled the least.
Another special thing about Graham? You dont have to adjust him to the philosophy that is strong around here: beating the Steelers. He followed the same “religion” in Cincinnati.
“Any divisional game has a lot more emotion in it. Those are games you look forward to wining, and it’s a great feeling when you walk off the field with your head held high instead hanging down low.”
Check out the full interview with Shayne Grahm in the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault and tune into “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark to hear more interviews with Raven players as the season gets under way!