When the Ravens signed Shayne Graham on June 3, 2010, it marked the end of a seven-year run as Cincinnati’s place kicker - a seven-year run where Graham established himself as the fourth most accurate kicker in NFL history.
Unfortunately, what may have led to his departure from Cincy was the pair of kicks he’ll never get back. After missing his first kick early in the Bengals’ playoff game against the Jets last season, Graham had a chance to redeem himself late in the game, but missed wide right, leaving the Bengals 10 points behind and eventually out of the playoffs.
Lets take a closer look at Graham as a person and as professional kicker in the NFL.
Michael Shayne Graham was born on December 9, 1977 and grew up in Dublin, VA. He attended Pulaski County High School where he was really big into soccer and moved on to play college football at Virginia Tech.
He left Virginia Tech and the Big East as the career scoring leader (371 points) and set VT and Big East records with 97 consecutive PATs. He also was named Big East Special Teams Player of the Year after leading the conference and breaking the school’s single-season scoring record with 107 points as a senior in 1999.
As a pro, it took Graham a few seasons to catch on with a pro team. He got his first opportunity with the Buffalo Bills but was released at the end of the year. He then was picked up by the Carolina Panthers, but eventually ended up with the Bengals in 2003 where he would spend the next seven seasons.
Graham owns Bengals’ franchise records for points in a season (131 in 2005), FG’s in a season (31 in 2007) and FG’s in a game (7 in 2007). The 131 points in 2005 earned Graham his only Pro Bowl nod. He also holds the Bengals’ record for consecutive FGs by making 21 in a row in 2007.
Graham has made three game-winning kicks in his pro career and has 30 special teams tackles as well.
It is also known that Graham is quite the eater. In college he once ate 18 tacos and on a separate occasion downed 14 chilidogs. He was known as the “undisputed heavyweight champion eater on the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Now Graham finds himself in a kick-for-kick battle with Billy Cundiff. A battle that John Harbaugh admits is very close.
It’s such a tough decision that Harbaugh said, “We’ll probably put that thing [the kicking battle] off and we’ll probably continue to put it off until the very last minute. Then we’ll have to make a decision.”
However, no matter who makes it, Harbaugh is not worried about the other kicker’s career.
“Surely one of the kickers will be kicking the next day for somebody,” Harbaugh said.l