Breaking News: Steelers Cut Kicker Chris Boswell, Retain Suisham
As most of you who frequent this site know, I’m a big Shaun Suisham fan, and consequently was very conflicted about the upcoming kicker situation.
There is, after all, no getting around the fact that Chris Boswell, who appears to have ice water in his veins, kicked very well. Nor can one deny that he’s younger and cheaper than Suisham. Furthermore, he, like Suisham, appears to be a very solid human being, something which matters a lot to me.
Consequently I was viewing the coming camp battle between the two with distinctly mixed emotions. Neither man has done anything so far to deserve to lose the job, but somebody has to. The assumption was, though, that this decision would be made in August.
Recent events indicate that there is more to the situation than meets the eye. Two days ago Mike Tomlin kicked the tires, if you will, on yet another kicker, Roberto Aguayo. Tomlin was at the Florida State Pro Day on Tuesday, and attempted to ice Aguayo, as reported by ESPN:
On whether the an idea that something like that would happen: “Oh yeah. You get prepared for everything and anything. I’m prepared for anything. Whatever they want. The Steelers’ [assistant coach] was trying to get in my head at the beginning. He was asking all these questions, but after I didn’t pay attention to him, he walked off. See, those are the little things they want to see, if you get distracted, if you get flustered from … They’re like, ‘Why are you going to hit five warm-ups? Why can’t you hit three warm-ups?’ All those little things and he’s like, ‘Oh, you’re sticking by the book,’ and I was like, ‘Yes sir.’ Those are the little things, see, and overall I think I had a good workout.”
It’s noteworthy that Tomlin was evaluating a kicker after the Steelers went through four different kickers in 2015, including the preseason.
So perhaps the kicker situation is more thoughtfully non-rhythmic, as Tomlin might say, than it seemed. However, it was still quite a shock when, according to multiple sources, Tomlin announced the competition was over:
First, let’s tip our cap to Chris Boswell. He’s a rookie who stepped into a pressure cooker. He didn’t blink. Obviously, Chris delivered for us as we expected. We acknowledge that. He was continually above the line and he made the critical kicks that were necessary to win games a number of times. We thank him for his efforts, but this decision was about Shaun Suisham’s ability to deliver in similar form and fashion. Shaun simply has a larger body of work on tape and obviously we’re excited to move forward with him as our place kicker.
I have to confess to feeling sad to lose Boswell. After all, he did nothing but come in to Pittsburgh and save the 2015 season. The previous several weeks had shown us that a reliable kicker can easily be the difference between a win and a loss. It can even be the difference between a bye week in the playoffs and playing a team containing Vontaze Burfict on wild card weekend.
Ultimately this decision on the part of the Steelers might be the best thing for Boswell. He will have the opportunity to shop his services around without being tied to the Steelers. Why they didn’t try to get an extra draft pick by trading him, I don’t know. If this is indeed best for him, though, I’m happy, and from the bottom of my heart, I wish him Godspeed.
And speaking of the bottom of my heart, I’ll once again enjoy watching Suisham, aka Sweet Cheeks, aka The Kicking Canuck, fly solo in training camp. It’s always a highlight of camp, at least for women of a certain age group. Suddenly the last week in July seems a very long way away from April 1st…