HE’S GOT A KICK OR TWO UP HIS SLEEVE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

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

Saints

(12.20pm): Bron­cos v Raiders

MICHAEL DICK­SON Punter, Seat­tleat­tle Sea­hawks Salary: y: $840,000

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