Ex-AHS star Novak waived by Redskins

Less than two months after the Washington Redskins signed him to be their kicker, Albemarle High School alum Nick Novak finds himself out of a job. The 'Skins made the announcement last night.

When he sat for the Hook's HotSeat a month ago, Novak was already in danger of losing his roster spot after successfully converting only 2 of 5 field goal attempts. "There are only 32 jobs out there," he acknowledged.

Looking for work became an especially real possibility last week when the Redskins signed kicker Shaun Suisham to the team's practice squad. Novak did not play in last Sunday's game against the Falcons, in which Suisham missed his only field goal attempt, a 50-yarder.

AHS football coach Rick Vrohovac, who got the news this morning, says he spoke with his famous former player last week. "He knows it's a business," says Vrohovac. "He knew that when they signed Suisham they would compete and that Suisham won the competition."

This latest development is a far cry from where Novak was five weeks ago after kicking a 47-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to defeat the Dallas Cowboys at a sold-out FedEx Field. Immediately after that game, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs told reporters, "I sure like him and I think he's got a real future." Asked about his change of heart yesterday, Gibbs told the Washington Post that it wasn't ultimately about Novak's accuracy but that, "Shaun gives us the best chance to get more distance [on kickoffs]."

It's a fate Novak seems to accept. "It's my fault," he tells the Post. "They wanted to see how [Suisham] kicks for the rest of the year."

The Post also reports that Novak may continue to reside in the D.C. area for a few weeks and continue to work out and practice in the hopes of signing with another NFL team in the run-up to the playoffs or the chance to play in NFL Europe. If that doesn't pan out, Vrohovac says Novak may want to explore other career options. "He's got a pipe dream like all athletes to compete at the highest level," he says. "But the good thing is he's got his degree from Maryland and he's got his mind to fall back on."

#

4 comments

We still love Nick....and we've never been Skins fans anyway.....

I remember a couple of years ago when Maryland came here to play. The week of the game, Novak was interviewed and said some pretty uncomplimentary things about Virginia not recruiting him (note: they had already recruited some kid named Conor Hughes - who was a great kicker). During the game, Maryland had a chance to either pull even or take a lead, and they sent Novak in. I was sitting in the end zone he was kicking toward, and it was a very joyous moment to see the kid just choke and miss the kick. Virginia won.

Novak is a good kicker just needs a little maturing , Redskins are famous for letting people with true and great potential go . Keep your chin up Nick , keep praticing , you have what it takes to make in the NFL.

EVERY NFL team is famous for letting good and even potentially great kickers go. It's very rare that a kicker sticks with the first team signing him to a contract, and it's extremely rare for a kicker to be drafted. It's about two things: a slightly slimmer ball, and an ungodly amount of additional pressure. The ball is easy to master, but pro kickers get booed for missing a kick with much more ferocity than college kickers get booed. If you can't get that last missed kick out of your head, you're done. That's what Novak needs to learn to be a pro field goal kicker.

That said, his major defeciency is his kickoff distance, which is very poor. That has to do with leg strength, and if he doesn't have it now after four years of college kicking and more than a year of "practicing" for the pros, he probably never will. Teams can't afford to carry two kickers, so unless he can nail kickoffs with consistency (or in the alternative become dead solid perfect from 55 yards in) he'll probably never catch on. Kicking off isn't about maturity or mental toughness, it's purely about leg strength. Kickers are typically the lowest-paid "starters" on a team because they're soooooooooo easy to replace, and so easy to cut if they are inconsistent.

He'll get more chances, as he should, but unless he can show a team that he can do better than kicking off to the 15 yard line he'll have a very difficult time sticking.