Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scouts Enamored with Janikowski's Leg

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scouts Enamored with Janikowski's Leg

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- He knows the argument, has heard it often. One side is Sebastian Janikowski is a good kicker, potentially the best ever.

Yes, ever.

That's how NFL officials see him as the April 15-16 NFL draft approaches, but the ex-Florida State University kicker also knows the other side, the unwritten rule regarding his position.

Never, ever take a kicker in the first round.

"It happened in 1979 -- I was born then," Janikowski said with a laugh, then added of possibly being the first first-round kicker in 21 years:

"I'd be happy if I could do that, but whatever makes them happy would make me happy."

One thing making personnel officials unhappy regarding Janikowski is a history of off-field problems, starting at Florida State and culminating with a January arrest.

Janikowski, several weeks after deciding to skip his senior season at FSU, was charged with offering a Tallahassee police officer $300 to release his roommate, who had been arrested after a dispute with a bouncer who wouldn't let him in a nightclub.

His agent, Jacksonville-based Paul Healy, said the case is not expected to be resolved before the draft, but it is expected to be resolved before training camp.

The worst-case scenario for Janikowski -- a native of Poland and a permanent resident of the United States, but not a citizen -- is deportation, although Healy said that is extremely unlikely.

"It's a factor, but it depends upon the team," Healy said. "A lot of teams are bringing him in, and they're doing it so they can talk to him, and find out who he is. They're asking the tough questions. Let's face it. He's got an image. He's got a reputation. Teams want to know."

As for ability, there is little doubt. One NFL personnel official whose team has an established kicker requested anonymity, but said, "He's the best I've ever seen. He's in another world."

The Bears, currently without a kicker, have shown interest, Healy said. The Rams have, too, enough that their special teams coach -- former Jaguars special teams coach Larry Pasquale -- went to the FSU March pro workout day to see him. The two dined together the night before. …

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