HE’S GOT A KICK OR TWO UP HIS SLEEVE
NFL kicking sensation Michael Dickson has spent the pre-season working on a new bag of tricks as Seattle Seahawks’ season opener against Cincinnati Bengals arrives tomorrow morning.
In his debut season last year, the former Sydney Swans academy player stunned the NFL with his drop punts and torpedo kicks.
There was even an end zone run to secure a crucial first down in a match and a tackle — rare feats for a punter.
“Everyone got super excited about the drop kick,” Dickson, 23, said from Seattle. “It’s a hard kick to do. It would be nicer if it was a big juicy rugby ball.
“Consistency is the major thing as a punter. If you are consistent, the team can rely on you.”
The kid from Kirrawee High had a dream first NFL season, becoming the first rookie punter in 33 years to play in the Pro Bowl and was largely considered the best punter in the NFL.
“I pinch myself all the time,” said Dickson, who spent the offseason at home in the Shire.
He was a shock fifth-round pick in the draft heading into last season.
“I’m sitting in the team meeting room and listening to (coach) Pete Carroll talk,’’ he said. “I look down at the hoodie and it has a Seahawk and a big NFL logo on it.
“The Pro Bowl was another moment. I’m in disbelief with how far I’ve come but you have to switch out of that pretty quickly.”
The NFL is littered with Aussies this year but Dickson is excited by the prospects of another punter, West Australian Mitch Wishnowsky — a surprise fourth-round pick by San Francisco 49ers.
“Me and Mitch met a few years ago and we’ve kept in contact,” Dickson said.
“We’ve spoken a few times. He is such a talent — he is going to get it done. He is crushing it.”
TOMORROW’S GAMES (3am): Redskins v Eagles; Bills v Jets; Falcons v Vikings; Ravens v Dolphins; Chiefs v Jaguars; Titans v Browns; Rams v Panthers
(6.05am): Bengals v Seahawks; Colts v Chargers
(6.25am): 49ers v Buccaneers; Giants v Cowboys; Lions v Cardinals (10.20am): Steelers v Patriots Tuesday (9.10am): Texans v
(12.20pm): Broncos v Raiders
MICHAEL DICKSON Punter, Seattleattle Seahawks Salary: y: $840,000