NAPA — Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has done a lot of changing during his 15-year NFL career.
He’s gone from being the brash, hard-living, party-chasing kid out of Florida State who made headlines for all the wrong reasons to a much calmer father of two who prefers quiet times with his children over the social scene.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long,” Janikowski said. “It feels like I just got drafted, for real. Fifteen years and still going strong.”
What hasn’t changed is Janikowski’s powerful left leg.
At 36, he remains one of the strongest kickers in the league and is closing in on the NFL record for the most made field goals of 50 yards or longer in a career. To get it, Janikowski will have to bounce back from a rough 2013 and foster a better relationship with second-year holder Marquette King.
The duo struggled to find any sort of rhythm together after Janikowski’s holder the previous 14 seasons, Shane Lechler, signed with Houston as a free agent. Kickers being creatures of habit, the change in holders was akin to asking Janikowski to kick with his right leg. It was an uncomfortable feeling Janikowski battled all season.
“You stay with the same guy for 14 years, the trust is there,” he said. “You don’t have to think about it going on the field.”
Janikowski converted only 21 of 30 field-goal attempts last season, a 70 percent success rate that was his lowest since 2006 and the third-worst mark of his career.
More telling, Janikowski made just three of his seven attempts from beyond 50 yards — his fewest since 2005 when he went 0 for 3 from that distance.
“Our timing was off,” Janikowski said. “Just timing, the confidence . . . the trust.”