Suisham to have knee surgery; Steelers to look for new kicker
August 10, 2015 3:30 PM
Steelers' Shaun Suisham kicks a field goal against the Vikings in the second quarter of the NFL/Hall of Fame Game Sunday in Canton, Oh. Suisham injured his knee during the game and will have to go through surgery.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers plan to look at a handful of veteran kickers today to take the place of Shaun Suisham, who will have surgery on his left knee this week, ending what would have been his 11th season in the NFL.
Suisham has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage damage that likely occurred when his left foot stuck in the old FieldTurf at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Suisham, the most accurate field-goal kicker in team history, was injured on the opening kickoff of the second half of a 14-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the first of five preseason games. He ran downfield to try to make a tackle, but his foot stuck in the turf that is scheduled to be replaced soon, causing the injury.
Steelers Report: Ed and Gerry discusses Steelers' loss to Vikings
The Steelers dropped their preseason opener in Canton, Ohio, to the Vikings. (Video by Peter Diana 8//10/2015)
Among the kickers the Steelers will consider are veterans Billy Cundiff, Shayne Graham, Jay Feely, Garrett Hartley and Alex Henery.
Cundiff and Hartley spent time with the Cleveland Browns last season. Graham, 37, has been with 14 NFL teams in one form or another, including the Steelers for one game in 2013 after Suisham had a hamstring injury. Suisham recovered enough to play and Graham was released the following week without being active.
Feely, 39, has been with seven teams, including the Chicago Bears last season.
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Henery in the fourth round in 2011 and cut him last August. The Detroit Lions signed him in September, but when he missed three field goals in a loss to Buffalo Oct. 5, they cut him the next day.
Suisham converted 59 of 64 field-goal tries over the past two seasons. He signed with the Steelers during the 2011 season when they decided to release Jeff Reed, who is not a candidate to rejoin them.
If anything good came out of the injury to Suisham for the Steelers, it is that it happened in their first preseason game. They have a month before they open the regular season Sept. 10 and can take a look at several kickers between now and then.
Whomever they sign will also have to kick off because neither of the two punters on the roster, Brad Wing or Jordan Berry, have kickoff experience.
The injury to Suisham comes at a time when the Steelers broke from the norm and did not have two kickers in training camp. Usually, they have two, yet even with an extra week and fifth game in the preseason this summer, they had no other kicker than Suisham.
Some more observations from Sunday night’s mostly messy preseason opener:
• Because Mike Tomlin rested so many veterans and so many others did not play because of minor injuries, it was difficult to draw many conclusions of their play.
Quarterback Landry Jones, for instance, looked better than he had in any other time in his previous two seasons with the Steelers, but his stats were so-so.
That would have changed had rookie tight end Jesse James caught that touchdown pass. It could have changed for the better had James not lost another pass — ruled a fumble, not an interception — at the Vikings 24 late in the third quarter.
There also was C.J. Goodwin’s fumble at the Vikings 34 after picking up a first down that would have kept a good, long second drive going.
And, of course, Jones almost surely would have benefited had Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell been able to play.
• First-round pick Bud Dupree made his professional debut not with a splash but with a quiet performance. The outside linebacker went virtually unnoticed and never breathed heavily on the quarterback, which is not unusual for a rookie in his first preseason game.
“I think I did well at knowing and following through with my assignments,” Dupree said. “I wasn’t greedy and didn’t try to do too much. I also made a point to stay in my lane. As the season progresses, I’ll be a part of the team’s movement a lot more.”
• Veteran cornerback Brandon Boykin batted down one pass and already has the looks of a starting cornerback.
• Tomlin, on what he said to James after his rough NFL debut: “Knuckle up. This is Sunday ball. This is not Saturday ball. That’s what I say to him.”
Ed Bouchette: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @EdBouchette.
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