Ex-Raven Hauschka takes long road to Super Bowl

Ex-Raven Hauschka takes long road to Super Bowl
January 22, 2014, 12:45 pm
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As many fans predicted would happen, a player that the Ravens parted ways with played a huge role in his team reaching the Super Bowl. But no, it wasn't wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

It was kicker Steven Hauschka, whose highly unusual NFL career path has reached its highest point four years after he was kicked aside by the Ravens.

Remember Hauschka? He had the unenviable job of succeeding mega-popular Matt Stover as the Ravens kicker. He joined the team as its kickoff and long-kick specialist in 2008 when Stover was still around, but then took the job from Stover full time before the 2009 season.

Hauschka, though, missed an extra point and missed four of 13 field-goal tries that year and was let go in midseason, replaced by Billy Cundiff. But Hauschka became the latest example -- and Cundiff is another -- that kickers in the NFL can have a long, if itinerant, shelf life.

Hauschka's unlikely football career began only after he was cut from his soccer team at Middlebury College. After two years of football at Middlebury, he played one season as a graduate student at N.C. State and signed as an undrafted rookie with the Vikings.

He was promptly cut, and landed with the Ravens. But after missing a short field goal and having an extra-point blocked against Cleveland, he was cut again.

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After being released by the Ravens, Hauschka bounced around, receiving looks from the Falcons and Lions among others, and even spent time with the UFL's Las Vegas Locomotives trying to keep his kicking leg in shape. That led to a stint with the Broncos late in the 2010 season, and he was signed by the Seahawks before the 2011 season. 

Two years later, Hauschka, 28, enjoyed the best season of his career. He was 33-for-35 on field goals this season, including 3-for-3 from outside 50 yards. He is 6-for-6 in the playoffs.

Now he's headed to the Super Bowl. What a long, strange trip it's been for the former Middlebury soccer player and Ravens castoff.