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A happy straight-down-the-middle birthday to Steven Hauschka
If things had turned out not all that differently for Steven Hauschka, he could be drilling teeth rather than field goals for the Seahawks.
When Hauschka headed to graduate school at North Carolina State in 2007, after kicking the previous three seasons for Middlebury College in Vermont where he earned his degree in neuroscience, the idea was to enter the family business. His mother is a dentist and so is his brother.
Hauschka was 9 of 13 on field-goal attempts in 2009 for the Ravens, but was waived – again – in mid-November. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons in December, but was waived during training camp in 2010. He was then claimed by the Detroit Lions, only to be waived a couple of weeks later. After a stint with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL, it was on to the Denver Broncos in December of that year. But he was released on the final roster cut in 2011, but only after kicking a 51-yarder on the final play of the game to beat the Seahawks in a preseason game.
Hauschka’s meandering past is significant, because the ever-steady kicker turns 29 on Sunday.
And he already has received the most-appropriate gift – the three-year contract he signed with the Seahawks in March after becoming an unrestricted free agent.
When the Broncos waived Hauschka, the Seahawks signed him and he has been so consistent that coach Pete Carroll referred to him as “Hausch-Money.”
“When we say ‘Hausch-Money,’ you know what we’re talking about,” Carroll said.
Yes we do: 25 of 30 on field goals and 34 of 34 on PATs in 2011; 24 of 27 on field goals and 46 of 48 on PATs in 2012; and 33 of 35 on field goals and 44 of 44 on PATs last season, when Hauschka’s 143 points led the NFC and set the franchise record by a kicker.
The secret to Hauschka’s steely success: He approaches all his kicks the same, whether it’s a game-winner or one of many in a laugher.
“Steven is very, very technical in everything he does,” said quarterback Russell Wilson, who also was teammates with Hauschka at N.C. State. “He’s a perfectionist. He had an unbelievable season for us, so you expect that out of Steven just because he does everything right.”
Especially when it comes to splitting the uprights. So we send straight-down-the-middle birthday wishes to the Seahawks’ kicker who was planning to become a dentist.