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Where Are They Now: Sam Ficken

Where Are They Now: Sam Ficken

As an All-Big Ten kicker as a senior at Penn State, Sam Ficken showed he could be counted on.

In his final game as a Nittany Lion, the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium against Boston College, he became a true Bronx Bomber by kicking a game-tying 45-yard field with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. He then secured the 31-30 victory with an extra point that took the same flight path as a straight-away centerfield home run.

Though he wasn’t chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft, Ficken wanted to still be counted on at the next level, and signed as a free agent with the Jaguars. He’d then spend time with the Chiefs, the Rams – where he’d play in four games during the 2017 and ’18 seasons – the Seahawks, and with the Packers up until the final cut, before signing with the Jets after one game of the 2019 season.

“When I arrived, the kicking position was a bit of a tornado,” Ficken said. “In the couple of weeks leading up to that with (Chandler) Catanzaro retiring, they had Taylor (Bertolet) there, who had an up and down preseason. I actually thought I was going to get signed when all the cuts happened when I was with Green Bay. But then they signed the kicker from the Vikings, Kaare Vedvik.

“Whenever you get signed after a tryout, it’s always a bit of a whirlwind because you have like a go bag, essentially. You have about a week’s worth of stuff and then all of a sudden, you’re there for six months. So whenever that happens, that first week you’re getting acclimated to the new team, the new players, your snapper, holder, the special teams coach. So yeah, it’s always a whirlwind when that’s how you get signed.

“Ultimately, (New York’s special teams) Coach (Brant) Boyer was like, ‘Hey, look. There’s a reason you’re here. Have confidence in yourself. You’ve shown that you can do this.’ So I would say, for me, at that point in my career, I’ve been cut a couple of times, I know how the business works….

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