August 15, 2014

More From GQ: Scott Fujita On Fat, Punk Kickers

While most of the attention cast upon the most recent edition of Gentleman’s Quarterly will continue to focus around LeBron James, the former Cavaliers small forward was not the only athlete with Cleveland ties to be featured.  Newly acquired Browns linebacker Scott Fujita stepped in admirably for a quick-hitter that is quietly tucked away within the middle of a feature.

The issue of GQ also included their annual “NFL Kickoff,” which typically features a smattering of alternative takes on the gridiron.  Ranging from their rendition of the “NFL Frankestud” all the way to “Five Ideas” that would inherently make the game better, various columnists give their takes on the 17-week league. 

In a feature coined “We’ve always wanted to know,” Fujita tackled the rarely-answered question about what players say to their kicker after he misses a big field goal.

“It depends who your kicker is,” said Fujita. “When I was in Kansas City with Morten Andersen, you didn’t say a word.  His track record spoke for itself.”

But since not every team can have their own Morten Andersen, the veteran Fujita discusses the other, younger side of the place-kicking spectrum.

“But last December when I was with New Orleans,” Fujia continued, “our fat punk kicker, Garrett Hartley, missed a game-winner and we lost for the second week in a row – that was one of the times you want to grab a guy and tell him to [bug ] off.  But Hartley was young, and I didn’t want to mess him up for good, so I just bit my lip and said, ‘Hey, man, don’t worry about it – it was a team loss,’ which of course was a total lie.”

Fujita did follow up with the fact that he was glad that he did not go after Hartley following the loss as the “fat punk” would later convert the field goal that sent the Saints to their first Super Bowl in franchise history and was also very instrumental in the team ultimately becoming victorious.  The Vince Lombardi Trophy has a tendency to erase any previous ill will, and the Fujita-Hartley case is no different.

Thankfully for Fujita’s current placekicker Phil Dawson, he is definitely more Morten Anderson than Garrett Hartley having the youngster topped by 207 field goals made to this point in their respective careers.  Dawson has converted 83.3 percent of his career attempts (ninth among all-time career leaders) and is only nine days removed from crushing a 58-yard field goal against the Green Bay Packers in preseason play.   And if the numbers aren’t enough, Dawson is the man responsible for the “Phil Dawson Rule” that allows field goals and extra points off of the crossbar or uprights to be reviewed.  Stanchion, for the win. 

And also fortunate for Dawson is the fact that he of 229 conversions is now on Fujita’s team.

“Oh, one other thing,” Fujita added.  “You always, always talk [crap] to the other team’s kicker after he chokes.”

(AP Photo/Bill Feig)

  • Turk

    How is it cool to blame tge PK if your offenense wasn’t good enough to piracies the opponent? You can never put a loss on one person, especially the kicker.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “How is it cool”

    Who said it was cool?

  • Mark

    @Scott – It seemed Fujita thought it was cool to put all the blame on the kicker.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Mark – I think he was just answering the question, though I can see what you’re saying. I think if there are any takeaways, Fujita is definitely old school.

  • SxDx

    If it wasnt for Garrett Hartley, Scott Fujita wouldnt have a Super Bowl ring. And yet, he still calls the guy fat punk, how classy.

    Fujita comes off sounding like a total d*ck in this article.

  • Clown Baby

    I could understand the resentment these guys have for kickers. People like Fujita are out there getting their brains beat in all game and then one guy goes out and blows all of it in a matter of seconds. While they say it or not, I’m sure this is thought pretty prevalent amongst NFL players. Golden Boy Peyton Manning himself even lit into a kicker one time.

  • SxDx

    I believe youre thinking of the “idiot kicker got drunk and ran his mouth” comment. Manning lit into Mike Vanderjagt because Vanderjagt called him out after a playoff loss to the Jets, criticizing his leadership among other things.

  • Clown Baby

    Right, and emphasis on KICKER. It’s a team sport and all of that, but these guys that are training year round and are spending copious amounts of time in the film room probably don’t consider people that go out and kick a few times a game their peers. Right or wrong, it’s human nature I would think.

  • mgbode

    From the context, I believe Fujita was able to call Hartley a “fat, punk kicker” for the miss because he showed how he redeemed himself in the Superbowl.

    I don’t think Fujita makes the first comment if the second comment wasn’t there for a follow-up.

  • JK

    Fujita is for sure cool. But is he chill? Denny….?

  • MrCleaveland

    You ever watch Dawson, Pontbriand, and Zastudil at camp? Pretty cush.

  • sealedhuman

    I never understood the resentment for kickers. Obviously they are not out there getting pounded like the rest of the team, but neither are the quarterbacks. The purpose of the game isn’t to get pounded – the purpose of the game is to win. Everyone serves a specific role on the team; each player has a specific skill set.

    I think mgbode is right about the context here – I think Fujita was joking around. But I still think kickers take an unfair amount of blame for loses. Why not blame the corner who got beat deep or the running back who fumbled or the quarterback who threw the interception?

  • Garry Owen

    Acknowledging first that nobody asked, my idea for making football better is to get rid of the kicker wherever possible (and this coming from a former college back-up kicker – yes, BACK-UP kicker . . . though in my defense also a full-time WR).

    Exhibit A: Extra points are stupid, and are rarely ever meaningful. I would change the rules to require the guy that scored the touchdown (whether, WR, QB, RB, CB, TE, LT, DE, LB, etc.)kick the PAT. Otherwise, you have to go for 2. Let’s get some more rugby into our football.

    When I am supreme football commissioner, it will be so. I’m working out the kinks on other situations. Obviously, you need someone to kick-off and hit field goals – which are still inarguably important – but I think this is a good first step.

    Everyone is free to go back to reality now. I will.

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    @Mr. C

    In their defense, for a while they were the best, most important, most consistent and most productive members of the team.

  • SxDx

    @13, although I defended Garrett Hartley, I too think this would be a fantastic idea and make football much more exciting. It will NEVER happen, but I would love it if the kicking game in football was eliminated altogether, except for kickoffs. No punts, no field goals, no extra points. 4 downs to move the ball 10 yards or you turn it over to your opponent. For extra points you get 1 point for passing into the end zone, 2 points for a running play. I think the game would be much more exciting, I would rather see 70-65 games instead of 20-14, but thats just me.

  • sealedhuman
  • SxDx

    Well now that Ive read PFT’s article, and the part about Hartley’s big ego, Fujita’s comments make a lot more sense. Maybe hes not such a **** after all. :)

  • cninja

    well, if you wanted more rugby in your football I would argue there would be more kicking, not less.

    can anyone else see Delhomme scrambling out of the pocket on third down and with all his targets covered, dropkicking it in for a quick 3 points?

  • Garry Owen

    Yeah, didn’t say I wanted less kicking – just less of kickers. It is called “football” for a reason.

    I think that dropkick scenario would be great! Better than a lofty toss out of bounds, just to roll out the kicker.

  • Brooks

    With the exception of Phil Dawson and whoever I decide to Draft in this weekends annual PPR Fantasy Football Draft I despise all kickers. Ever since Martin Gramatica hurt himself celebrating I have had no respect for these “athletes” (once again NOT Phil…I would kiss his kicking foot if he were so inclined to allow it).

    It seems like Fujita is a pretty stand up guy and I can see how, as mentioned above, someone who is out studying film and getting busted up all game would resent an out of shape kicker who makes solid coin kicking a ball 5 times a game.

    Good article Buddy.