Rayner sticks with Lions another year
August 10, 2011 - Detroit Lions fans are going to continue to see a familiar face on the sidelines this upcoming National Football League season.
|Dave Rayner will continue kicking for the Detroit Lions this season. (click for larger version)|
On Tuesday, July 26, Oxford High School graduate and unrestricted free agent Dave Rayner agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Lions.
"I wanted to be here more than anywhere else," Rayner said. "I talked to Detroit first and then talked to some other teams, and then came back to Detroit."
According to Rayner, he was contacted by the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings about his services.
Rayner could not officially sign with the Lions until Friday, July 29. He could not report to training camp until Thursday, August 4 when the new collective bargaining agreement was officially signed between the NFL Players Association and NFL owners.
Rayner confirmed initial reportss that indicated he would be competing for the starting placekicker position with Jason Hanson, who has been with the Lions since he was drafted out of Washington State in 1992.
"He (Hanson) is one of the best in the business, so I am going to go in and compete and do the best that I can do and see what happens," Rayner said.
He noted both he and Hanson were "kicking the ball good" and so far the competition was "pretty even."
Rayner filled in for the Lions last year when Hanson injured his right knee halfway through last season. In eight games with the Lions, Rayner made 13 of 16 field goals and all 16 of his extra points.
"I had a good last part of the year here, so it was fresh in their minds that I performed well and done well here," he said.
He learned a few things from Hanson during the brief time he spent with him last season. "I got to pick his brain on how he kind of goes about things," Rayner said. "He was only around for the first few weeks before he got placed on injured reserve."
Last season, Rayner helped the Lions snap their 26 game road losing streak Dec. 19 when he kicked the game tying and game winning field goals against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
His kicks against the Bucs were the first time in Lions franchise history a kicker had kicked a game tying field goal on the last play of regulation and game winning field goal in overtime during the same game.
Two weeks later, Rayner kicked a career long field goal of 55 yards against the Vikings on January 2 in front of a sold out Ford Field in Detroit.
Rayner said he kept in shape during the NFL lockout by running, lifting weights and constantly kicking a football.
Rayner was drafted in the sixth round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2005. Since then, he has played for the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals and the Lions.
For his career, Rayner has appeared in 51 games and is 55 of 75 (73.3 percent) on field goal attempts and has amassed a total of 229 points.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.