There's a new leg in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' kicker competition.
On Wednesday morning, the Buccaneers announced the signing of 14th-year NFL veteran Rian Lindell, giving the team three kickers on the 90-man preseason roster. To make room on that roster for the addition of Lindell, the Buccaneers waived first-year linebacker Joe Holland.
Lindell joins fellow veteran kicker Lawrence Tynes and first-year player Derek Dimke in the competition to replace the injured Connor Barth and handle Tampa Bay's placekicking duties this season. Tynes was signed just a week before the Buccaneers reported to training camp after Barth sustained a torn Achilles tendon in a charity basketball game.
However, Tynes has been dealing with a toe injury for most of the preseason, which has left nearly all of the kicking duties to Dimke. The signing of Lindell does not reflect a dissatisfaction in Dimke's work; in fact, Head Coach Greg Schiano has praised the efforts of the former University of Illinois standout, who is five for five in field goal attempts during the Bucs' two first preseason games. The desire to bring in another kicker was prompted more by Tynes' continued absence and the heavier-than-anticipated workload for Dimke.
"It's having an impact on a lot of things," said Schiano in reference to Tynes' injury. "We have one kicker in camp, basically for the entire camp, so he's been doing all the kicking – now his leg's getting tired as well."
The Buccaneers moved quickly to snag Lindell, who was released on Tuesday by the Buffalo Bills in favor of rookie sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins. Lindell had spent the past 10 seasons as Buffalo's kicker, establishing franchise records in career field goal percentage (83.3), single-season field goal percentage (92.0 in 2006), consecutive extra points made (225) and consecutive field goals made (18). He also ranks second in Bills history in field goals made (225) and points scored (980).
Last season, the 6-3, 227-pound Lindell connected on 21 of 24 field goal attempts, with a long of 50 yards, and all 39 of his PATs for a total of 102 points. Over the last two seasons, he has succeeded on an excellent 87.2% of his field goal attempts (34 of 39), ranking 10th in the NFL in that category over that span. He has made at least one field goal of 50 or more yards in seven of the last eight seasons, with a career-long of 56 in 2009. From 2000 through November of 2010, Lindell made 321 consecutive extra point attempts, the fourth-longest streak in league history and the longest ever to start a player's career.
Lindell kicked collegiately at Washington and entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2000. The Cowboys waived Lindell in August but he landed with Seattle in September and took over the kicking job in Week Five, eventually making 15 of his 17 field goal tries. Buffalo signed Lindell away from the Seahawks as a restricted free agent and he went on to sign two new contracts with the Bills and hold the team's kicking job from 2003-12.
Holland signed with the Buccaneers last November and spent three separate stints on the team's practice squad before being re-signed for the 2013 season in January.