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Former Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio drawing praise as potential replacement for Falcons longtime kicker Matt Bryant

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NFL: New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long time coming for Giorgio Tavecchio. The former Cal Bear has been in and out of NFL training camps since 2012. It wasn’t until two years ago, he broke through to get his first shot in a regular season game with the Raiders, replacing injured long time kicker, Sebastian Janikowski.

The road for Tavecchio included offseason stints with the 49ers (2012), Packers (2013), and Lions (2014). Then a whopping SIX TIMES from 2014-2018 the Raiders signed Tavecchio.

Despite a solid 76% on field goals for Tavecchio that season, including 3 of 4 from outside 50 yards, he wasn’t viewed by new head coach Jon Gruden as the long term replacement for Janikowski. Gruden signed undrafted free agent rookie Eddy Pineiro and early in training camp, in the interest of not having holder Johnny Townsend switching back and forth from left to right, he let the left footed Tavecchio go.

In October, the Falcons came calling and signed Tavecchio as an injury replacement for longtime kicker Matt Bryant. In three games, Tavecchio made all five of his field goal attempts and all eight extra point attempts.

Come the end of the season, the Falcons have announced they will be moving on from the 43-year-old Bryant. New Falcons special teams coach Ben Kotwika likes Tavecchio as his new kicker.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Giorgio,” Kotwica said. “The thing I respect about him is that he’s been through the grinder.”

“What do I mean by that? This is a player that came out of college, and he’s gone through multiple offseason camps where there’s 60 kickers there. He’s been through that, which helps with his experience, with his database.”

Hopefully this isn’t just lip service so the Falcons can just draft a new kicker and kick Tavecchio to the curb. ‘Italian Ice’ deserves better. He deserves to finally have a team believe in him enough to make him the favorite for the job.