- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2017

ASHBURN — Kicker Nick Rose had been trying to avoid signing a lease — just in case, you know, an NFL team called.

After being released from the San Francisco 49ers in September, Rose was back living at his girlfriend’s place in Austin, Texas. The two have been dating since college, where Rose was a kicker for the Longhorns. 

In San Francisco during the preseason, Rose, 23, had failed to beat out veteran Robbie Gould. He returned to Austin to lift weights, kick and hope for another shot. 

That opportunity came last week when the Washington Redskins asked Rose if he could try out. The Redskins were in need of a kicker after Dustin Hopkins suffered a hip injury.

By Monday night, Rose was on a plane; Tuesday, he won the job.

“You never know when you were going to get an opportunity,” Rose said. “Then I got the call here, and here I am.”

Moving at a moment’s notice, though — that’s something the 23-year-old knows a lot about.

His dad, Michael, was a lieutenant colonel and an engineer in the Army. Born in Hawaii, Rose moved every couple of years as a child.

From Hawaii, there was California, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, a move back to California, and back to Texas. Got all that?

“We knew he was fighting for us and our country,” Rose said. “As a kid of that, you understand at a young age what he’s fighting for and what he’s doing and the service he’s providing the country.”

At the University of Texas from 2012-15, Rose made 71.1 percent of his field goal attempts and 95 percent of his extra point attempts.

Though he’s never appeared in an NFL regular season game, he went 3-for-4 in the preseason, including a 55-yarder. He also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, but failed to make the roster as an undrafted free agent.

So given the lack of NFL experience, why did the Redskins choose Rose to replace Hopkins? He beat out three other kickers, including veteran Mike Nugent, in his tryout.

Nick kicked the best,” coach Jay Gruden said. “He had the most pop on his kicks, kickoffs and field goals. He didn’t miss any, so we thought we’d give him an opportunity.”

Rose said he’s ready to kick, as Gruden said, “when the lights are on.”

“I’m a young guy, so I’ve got a pretty good leg,” Rose said. “I think I can bring a lot of consistency inside 50 to the team. I think I can get us some points that we need.”

The Redskins placed Hopkins on injured reserve Tuesday. Initially, Gruden listed Hopkins as “week-to-week” with a hip flexor strain.

Gruden said Hopkins could return this season. The NFL changed its rules this offseason to allow teams to bring two players off IR instead of one. If the Redskins choose this route, Hopkins must spend a minimum of eight weeks on IR, but will be able to practice after six weeks, if he’s able. At the earliest, Hopkins would be eligible to play Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals.

In the meantime, Rose becomes the Redskins‘ 18th kicker since 2000.

“You always pack light,” Rose said.”You’re always ready to leave. Even when you live somewhere for two or three years, you don’t really accumulate that much stuff because in the back of your head, you’re ready to go.”

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