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Local Sports Journal
Former Grand Haven standout kicker John Potter made an impression in his first NFL preseason game for the Buffalo Bills.
Potter, who played collegiately at Western Michigan University, boomed a kickoff out of the back of the end zone to start the game. He ended up taking three kickoffs, all of which sailed out the back of the end zone. Buffalo dropped a 7-6 decision to the Washington Redskins on Friday night.
Potter was a seventh-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
“This guy is a kickoff guy. He kicked through the uprights kicking off and if you can make, or kick the ball in the end zone and make them start on the 20 it gives you a much better chance defensively,” Bills General Manager Buddy Nix told BuffaloBills.com
In his first kick in the first game in an NFL uniform, Potter delivered.
“The biggest nerves come before the game when you are really unable to do anything,” Potter told buffalobills.com. “Once you get out there it goes away and you get more excitement going. It really all hit me during the national anthem when I realized that this is America’s sport and I am blessed to be a part of it.”
Potter knows the value of a solid kicker.
“I think that every yard counts in field position,” Potter said. “Every yard matters, but it also helps on kickoff because it is a brutal part of the game for both the kickoff team and return team. If you are able to hit touchbacks then you can save your guys and allow them to go and make plays in other parts of the game.”
NFL teams typically do not carry two kickers, but thoughts of pinning a team inside its own 20-yard-line several times a game could be a consideration for keeping two.
“I am confident that I am going to be able to continue hitting touchbacks, so it is up to the coaching staff as far as the roster goes,” said Potter. “I don’t have any input as far as that goes. I just go out there and try to hit as many touchbacks as I possibly can.”
Bills head coach Chan Gailey isn’t sure if they will keep two kickers or not, but it is an option.
“It could be. I didn’t say it’s a guarantee, but it could be,” Gailey told buffalobills.com