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Redskins change kickers, replace Graham Gano with Billy Cundiff

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Graham Gano's victory in the Redskins' kicking competition did not last long. A day after he beat out veteran challenger Neil Rackers, the team replaced him with veteran Billy Cundiff, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

ESPN first reported the news. Cundiff's agent has since confirmed the news on Twitter.

"I would like to thank the Redskins organization for the 3 years I spent with them," Gano wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday morning. "I will miss my teammates and I wish you the best of luck!"

The Baltimore Ravens released Cundiff on Sunday in favor of undrafted rookie Justin Tucker. Cundiff made the Pro Bowl in 2010 with Baltimore, but goodwill dissipated after he missed a 32-yard-field goal with 11 seconds left in the Ravens' 23-20 loss to New England in the AFC championship game in January. (Watch video of the miss here)

The Redskins had been patient with Gano, who was entering his third full season with the team. He showed signs of rewarding that by making 15 of his final 16 field-goal attempts last season (the one miss was blocked).

Gano, 25, made 86 percent of his field goals last season, excluding the five attempts that were blocked.

"I thought his blocks weren't his fault, so therefore there is some undue criticism," coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.

Gano has a strong leg on kickoffs, but coaches constantly sought from him greater mental toughness and consistency. He did not attempt a field goal during the preseason; Rackers tried the Redskins' only two attempts.

Cundiff, 32 made only 76 percent (28 of 37) of his field goals last season. He was 8-of-15 from beyond 40 yards. He is 1-for-9 from 50 yards or longer over the last three seasons. Gano, meanwhile, was 4-of-6 from 50 yards or longer in 2011.

Cundiff's 40 touchbacks in 2011 tied an NFL single-season record.

In discussing Cundiff's release from the Ravens on Monday, Gano credited Cundiff for helping him change from a three-step run-up to a two-step approach. Cundiff beat Gano out for the Ravens' kicking job in 2009.

Gano did not return multiple phone messages.

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