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Harrison Butker’s quick road to glory

Sep 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (7) celebrates with teammates after kicking the game-winning 58-yard field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers during overtime at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Butker went from a backup role on a practice squad to one of the most efficient kickers in NFL history.

There was a short but important moment in the young career of Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, which began at the 2017 NFL Draft.

In the seventh and last round, the Carolina Panthers took a shot at the 6’4 kicker from Georgia Tech. Butker dominated his senior year, making 15 of 17 field goals at 88% while going perfect on his 46 extra point attempts that season.

However, the Panthers decided to go with their veteran piece at kicker. Instead of Butker taking the job, kicker Graham Gano kept the job he has held since 2012. Butker was stuck in a waiting game for another chance to play. Thankfully for Butker, this wait wasn’t going to last long.

It’s important to remember what the kicking situation was for the Chiefs. Once the Chiefs signed kicker Cairo Santos as an undrafted free agent in 2014, he had played and performed well over the course of three seasons.

In his fourth season, Santos was injured in Week 3 and then quickly placed on Injury Reserve. In response, the Chiefs signed Butker off the Panthers practice squad.

Since that moment, Butker has been one of the best kickers in football, along with truly cementing himself as one of the best of all time. After his performance Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Butker is in nearly a class of his own.

Joined by only Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, Butker is the only other player with a 90% or greater field goal percentage. In other words, Butker is the second-most accurate field goal kicker of all time, regardless of era.

However, you wouldn’t think Butker was making history. Without any All-Pro or Pro Bowl selections, many fans still do not understand the incredible run he has been on to begin his young career.

When Butker arrived in Kansas City, you couldn’t have asked for a better entrance. With seven seconds left in a tie game, Butker drilled a 43-yard field goal to help the Chiefs prevail over the now Washington Football Team in Week 4 of 2017.

From that moment forward, the Chiefs have been confident in their Butt Kicker. That showed in last week’s win against the Los Angeles Chargers. In the third quarter, Butker broke the franchise record for the longest field goal with a 58-yard make.

That wouldn’t even be his most impressive one of the day. As the Chiefs came back to force overtime, Butker had to produce, this time from 53 yards. Butker kicks it through the uprights, but a false start pushed them back five yards.

Butker stepped up and drilled the 58-yarder, but it was after the Chargers took a timeout. The ‘icing the kicker’ technique didn’t work on Butker, who turned away before the ball even went through on his third attempt.

Butker tied the Chiefs record and broke his own record twice in the same game. The Butt Kicker will be kicking in Kansas City for years to come after he signed an extension last year.

The extension will keep Butker until the 2024 season. Butker has shown the poise and accuracy to be one of the greatest kickers to play in the NFL.

But when it comes to awards and accolades, this praise is yet to come and could come back to potentially downplay a Hall of Fame-worthy career. May truly be the only bad thing about playing for the Chiefs, some players will never receive their due. If Butker continues on this current path, I don’t foresee any reason his face is not up in Canton, Ohio when he calls it a career.

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