Graham's giant kicks doing the job for Jets

Monday, November 20 2006 @ 11:07 am ACDT

Contributed by: Brett Northey

Australian punter Ben Graham has continued his excellent form for the New York Jets in the NFL, averaging 44.3 yards, slightly above the league average - a top result in his first full season. A longest kick of 69 yards is another impressive result. Two more long kicks weren't counted in his stats due to team penalties.

The former Geelong captain had plenty of doubters before heading to the States, but he had a crucial supporter in Eric Mangini, who had tried to lure him across the Pacific many years earlier. With Mangini taking over as head coach at the Jets, he was quick to sign Graham on a long term deal. The NFL's oldest rookie at 33, the long kicking Victorian had the honour of being named a co-captain of the Jets' special teams. There was even early season talk of him doing "double-duty" - taking over another kicking role. And he may yet have a greater offensive role, though Mangini is loathe to risk injury to his star kicker.

You can read more about Graham's fairytale journey in Life's a kick in NFL for Jets' Graham . His season statistics can be seen here.

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