Sebastian Janikowski: Wikis

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Sebastian Janikowski

Janikowski in November 2008
No. 11     Oakland Raiders
Placekicker
Personal information
Date of birth: March 3, 1978 (1978-03-03) (age 31)
Place of birth: Wałbrzych
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
College: Florida State
NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17
Debuted in 2000 for the Oakland Raiders
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 16, 2009
Field Goals Made     203
Field Goals Attempted     263
Field Goals %     77.2
Long Field Goal     62
Stats at NFL.com

Sebastian Janikowski (born March 3, 1978 in Wałbrzych, Poland) is a Polish placekicker who currently plays for the National Football League's Oakland Raiders. He is considered to have one of the strongest kicking legs in the league[1], and leads the NFL in kickoffs for touchbacks. He currently lives in Castro Valley, California

Contents

Early years

Sebastian Janikowski was born to Henryk Janikowski and Halina Janikowska in Wałbrzych, located in Lower Silesia in southwest Poland. Henryk was a professional soccer player, and moved to the United States in the early 1980s in the hopes of reviving his career. Years after emigrating, Henryk divorced Halina and married an American. Left at home with just his mother, Sebastian began to excel at soccer himself. In 1993, 15-year-old Sebastian earned a spot on the Polish under-17 team.

His father's marriage to an American meant that Sebastian could legally emigrate to America. He did so at the urging of his mother, even though the two were very close and it was emotionally painful for Sebastian. The teenager spoke very little English, and attended Orangewood Christian High School but learned quickly by taking a three-week night class and by watching television. Janikowski played in only 5 games for the Orangewood Christian soccer team, but led them to the Class A State Championship game by scoring 15 goals, where they lost to Lakeland Christian in penalty kicks (3-2).

Now living in Orlando, Florida with his father and stepmother, Janikowski joined the Orlando Lions, an under-19 soccer club coached by Angelo Rossi. Rossi was also the soccer coach at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, and he convinced Henryk that his son would be better off there. Henryk agreed but was unwilling to move, so Sebastian moved in with Rossi's family.

During his senior year at Seabreeze, Janikowski played both soccer and football after being recruited by the school's football coach. As the team's placekicker, he quickly earned a reputation by kicking four field goals of 50+ yards. One of them was for 60 yards, third-best in Florida prep school history. USA Today named Janikowski to its 1996 All-American team.

After being heavily recruited by some of the top collegiate football programs, Janikowski decided on Florida State University.

Career at Florida State

Janikowski played three seasons for the Seminoles, where he amassed a career scoring total of 324 points (3rd all-time for the school). In 1999 he became the first kicker to twice win the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate kicker.

Janikowski's career at FSU was not without incident. In August 1998, he got into a fight outside of a Tallahassee bar and was charged with failure to leave the premises; he pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor offense. That same year, the night after a season-ending win over rival Florida, Janikowski got into a fight at a local bar and was charged with battery.

In the 1999 season, which again found FSU in contention for a national title. Prior to the team's appearance in the national championship game (the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana), Janikowski declared his intentions to declare himself eligible for the 2000 NFL Draft, saying his primary reason of foregoing his senior year was in order to pay for his mother to come to the United States.[2]

Although Janikowski's skill as a kicker was unquestioned by NFL scouts, his off-the-field behavior was a cause of concern. In January 2000, Janikowski was partying with a group of friends when his high school friend was arrested at a nightclub. Janikowski, who later said he was thinking he could save everyone paperwork and the trouble, approached the arresting officer and asked how much it would take to let his friend go. He was then arrested for attempting to bribe an officer, a charge that carried a $5,000 fine, up to five years in prison, and possible deportation. Janikowski claimed that he thought he could pay a fine to have his friend released, but the officer interpreted the action as an attempted bribe.[3]

Career with Oakland Raiders

Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler in July 2007

Janikowski was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft—only the 3rd time a place kicker had been taken in the first round in NFL history.

Janikowski was acquitted of his bribery charge in June 2000. He had testified on his own behalf, stating that he was simply trying to pay his friend's fine and not bribe the arresting officer. Just eight days after his acquittal, Janikowski and two friends were arrested in Tallahassee on suspicion of felony possession of the drug GHB. Once again, he faced prison time or deportation if convicted. He was acquitted of all charges in April 2001.[4] Janikowski was charged with DUI on October 2, 2002, and given three years' probation after pleading no contest. Less than a year later, he was arrested after a fight at a Walnut Creek, California, restaurant. The case was later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Janikowski has annually performed at a high level. After the 2004 season he was given a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $10.5 million, making him, at the time, the highest paid kicker in NFL history.[5].

On November 4, 2007, Janikowski attempted a 64-yard record attempt before halftime against Houston Texans on a windless Oakland afternoon in McAfee Coliseum. While it had the distance, it bounced off the right upright and came back out.[6]

On September 14, 2008, Janikowski made a 56-yard field goal at Arrowhead Stadium. It was the longest field goal in Oakland Raider history. Two weeks later, on September 28, Janikowski attempted a 76-yard field goal against the San Diego Chargers into the heavy wind right before halftime.[7 ] This is presumed to be the longest attempt in NFL history, though the league keeps no such records on attempts;[7 ] the longest known attempt previous to this was a 74-yard fair catch kick by Mark Moseley in 1979.

On October 19, 2008, Janikowski broke his own team record, making a 57-yard field goal in overtime to defeat the New York Jets, 16-13. On December 27, 2009, he again broke his own team record and made a 61-yard field goal against the Cleveland Browns before halftime. He is currently the highest scoring player in the Raiders history with 1000 points as of the end of the 2009 season.

On January 3, 2010, Janikowski reached his 1,000th career point with a 39 yard field goal against the Baltimore Ravens. The kick also advanced his point total as the highest scoring Raider of all time.

Awards and records

  • Lou Groza Award - 1998, 1999
  • All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team - 1999
  • All-American First Team - 1998, 1999
  • Oakland Raiders franchise record for highest field goal completion percentage (76% entering 2008)
  • Longest field goal in Oakland Raiders franchise history at 61 yards
  • Presumed longest field goal attempt in NFL history at 76 yards[7 ]
  • Longest field goal to end overtime in NFL history at 57 yards
  • Most career points in Raiders history (1000)

References

External links

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