If Sebastian Janikowski has his way, he’ll still be kicking when he’s 42 years old and the Raiders have moved to Las Vegas.
The 39-year-old Janikowski said Wednesday he wants to stay in the NFL until someone kicks him out. Janikowski has spent 17 seasons in Oakland and says he still wants to be playing when the team moves in 2020.
“I hope so, that’s my goal,” he said. “That’s not my decision.”
Janikowski would be 42 at the start of the 2020 season. Playing that long as a kicker is far from unprecedented. Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri will turn 45 this season and former Raiders kicker George Blanda played his final game at the age of 48 in January 1976.
Janikowski was a first-round pick by the Raiders in 2000 and has been with the team ever since. After three straight playoff berths to start his career, Janikowski endured years of losing before getting back to the playoffs last year when Oakland lost in the first round to Houston.
Janikowski is still an effective kicker. He made 29 of 35 field goal attempts last season, missing just once inside of 50 yards. His 55 career field goals from at least 50 yards are the most in NFL history, passing Jason Hanson’s previous record of 52.
Janikowski said he feels he is still improving and credits time in the weight room and the recent use of film to study his technique on the advice of special teams coach Brad Seely for his success.
“He’s very receptive to coaching, he’s very coachable, and I think it’s his work ethic,” Seely said. “Guys don’t stay in the league as long as he has without having a good work ethic. But until you actually coach him day-to-day, you see what this guy is all about, and there’s a reason he’s still playing at this level. He takes care of his body, he really works hard in practice, he wants to be good at his craft, and I can’t say enough about him in that I’ve coached a lot of great kickers in my career, and you just put him in that list of guys.”