Camp be­gins early for kick­ing can­di­dates

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS ded­wards@thes­ 905-526-2481 | @scratch­ing­post

Train­ing camp might not get un­der­way un­til Sun­day; but the com­pe­ti­tion for the Hamil­ton TigerCats’ kick­ing job has al­ready be­gun.

Sources say the team worked out four kick­ers on Thurs­day, and will bring two or three of them to train­ing camp to com­pete for the po­si­tion. The four are: •Ser­gio Castillo, who was orig­i­nally signed by the Ti­cats in 2014. He also spent time with Win­nipeg and Ot­tawa. He has played six games, is 10 of 13 (76.9 per cent) on field goals, and has a 44.6-yard av­er­age on 21 punts. Castillo was one of seven kick­ers the Cats brought to mini-camp on a con­tract ba­sis last month.

•Craig Peter­son was also at mini-camp and has sev­eral years of arena ex­pe­ri­ence, while also at­tend­ing train­ing camp with the Ot­tawa Red­blacks in 2014.

•John Lunsford is a 23-year-old who played col­lege at Lib­erty Univer­sity and was with the San Fran­cisco 49ers in the pre-sea­son last year ap­pear­ing in three games. He has also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers and the Seattle Sea­hawks.

•Ryan Hawkins is a for­mer North­ern Ari­zona punter and place kicker. He was signed by the Toronto Arg­onauts last sea­son, but was re­leased in May with­out hav­ing played a game.

For­mer Ti­cat Brett Ma­her, who han­dled the kick­ing du­ties in 2016, is not in the mix — at least for now. Sources say Ma­her, who was signed by Cleve­land Browns in March, but re­leased ear­lier this month, is still pur­su­ing NFL op­tions. The Ti­cats are re­luc­tant to hand him the job — and an ac­com­pa­ny­ing con­tract con­tain­ing up­front money — af­ter he strug­gled down the stretch last sea­son.

Ma­her could be­come an op­tion if the cur­rent crop of can­di­dates strug­gles, how­ever.

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