On Thursday night, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker tied the Heinz Field record for NFL games with a 52-yard game-winning field goal. With the Ravens unlikely to trade Tucker to the Steelers (although the Steelers would be wise to call G.M. Ozzie Newsome and say “name your price”), there’s another guy the Steelers should track down.
His name is Jarod Brown. A Yorktown, Virginia native who originally went to West Virginia, Brown transferred to Old Dominion. Two year ago, Brown kicked a 54-yard field goal at Heinz Field, the longest kick made in the history of the facility.
Brown has, by all appearances (and based on any and all evidence at Google), exited football. But that wasn’t before he drew attention in 2014 from teams like the Lions, 49ers, Colts, and Titans. As noted by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Brown had a knack for successful onside kicks, with an arsenal that included self-recoveries and pooches, both late in games and on a surprise basis.
But it’s that 54-yard kick that should at least get the Steelers to bring Jarod Brown to town for a tryout.
“It was in that open end, down toward the water. And he stroked it,” Old Dominion special teams coordinator Michael Zyskowski said, via Birkett. “He had a little bit of wind, but it was twirling pretty good that game. . . . We tried three 54-yard kicks that game. It was just one of those things where, we had the wind, we’re like, ‘Ah, screw it. This kid’s got a leg, let’s give it a shot.'”
Brown’s issues with accuracy likely kept him from ever landing with an NFL team, and chances are he’s not the answer. But the Steelers need to be looking under every rock for a guy who can become their own version of Justin Tucker. Josh Scobee clearly isn’t the answer (in addition to missing two field goals last night at Heinz Field, he missed two field goals three weeks earlier at Gillette Stadium), but the Steelers don’t have many/any viable alternatives who would convert field goals on a consistent basis.
One of the top priorities from this point forward should be finding someone who can.