NAPA – Sebastian Janikowski has to be the biggest, strongest kicker in the league. The Raiders specialist spent the last few seasons around 270 pounds -- most of it muscle – while powering deep drives and chip shots alike through the uprights.
He’s been in the league forever, entering the 17th season since late owner Al Davis made him a controversial first-round pick in 2000.
Just because he’s been around forever doesn’t mean an exit’s in the works. Janikowksi wants to kick until his 40, with no plans of slowing down. Janikowski knows age is more than a number, and came into this training camp slimmer and in great shape.
He still looks like a linebacker, but Janikowski came to the Napa Valley Marriot at 256 pounds and ready for the rigors of another season.
“I dropped more weight, but I hope I’m not going to lose any power,” Janikowski said. “That’s what I’m wondering because from 265 to 270 I feel like I got more power, but we’ll see what the difference is going to be.”
Janikowski is always a deep threat, tied for first all-time with 52 field goals of 50-plus yards. The team’s leading scorer also owns NFL’s second-longest field goal, a conversion from 63 yards out in 2011.
Jankowski converted 80 percent of last year’s attempts, right at his career average but far lower than an 87 percent clip from 2014. He’d like to do better and remain a Raider long term.
He has two years left on a contract extended in 2013. He’s owed $3.6 million this season and $4.05 million the next.
He’s older and wiser.
"I feel the same,” Janikowski said. “I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just kicking a ball. It’s not that hard.
“(The time) went by fast, I’ll tell you that. It went by fast, but (it’s) another year and I think it’s going to be a great year for us.”
Janikowski should be the team’s kicker again this season, even with Cal alum Giorgio Tavecchio performing well. Special teams coordinator Brad Seely wouldn’t anoint the veteran just yet.
“We’re trying to create competition and Giorgio is a guy that, he’s an NFL kicker,” Seely said. “Will he kick for us? Well that remains to be seen, but it’s a competition and we’re seeing who’s the best.
"Obviously, Sebastian has done this for a long time and has been really good. Obviously, he’s the front-runner going in. The other guy is always… It’s like a heavy weight championship fight, you have to knock him out if you’re going to take his job.”
Janikowski’s as tough as they come, and plans to keep his job for a long time.
“I love what I do,” Janikowski said. “I want to bring a championship to this team. That’s my goal.”