Janikowski is OK with A's winning and dirt, too

Published: Friday, Sep. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Friday, Sep. 13, 2013 - 12:07 am

ALAMEDA – Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has kicked from the infield dirt at the Coliseum for so long it's become almost second nature.

That's why Janikowski was surprised – and a bit angry – to read a published report quoting Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee claiming Janikowski annually roots for the A's to miss the playoffs so the dirt can be replaced with sod.

Janikowski normally leaves the locker room without speaking to reporters but was waiting in front of his stall when the media was allowed in Thursday. His message was clear: The kicker is fully behind the A's and their run to the postseason.

"I root for the A's. I want them to do well," Janikowski said. "I've been to several A's games. Whatever (Scobee) said, it just blows my mind. The conversation never happened. If they make the postseason, I'm excited for them."

Oakland is the only NFL team to share a facility with a baseball team. Janikowski, the 17th overall pick in 2000, has been dealing with the dirt since.

He made a 57-yard field goal on the dirt in overtime to beat the New York Jets in 2008, the longest field goal in overtime in NFL history. Two years ago in the preseason, Janikowski nailed two 57-yarders from the dirt.

"It really doesn't bother me," Janikowski said. "It's an advantage for us. Guys come in and they think about it so much. And I'm not going to tell them what to do."

The Raiders have to play on the infield dirt until baseball season is over. The A's made the playoffs in 2012 and have a 3 1/2-game lead in the American League West this season.

Janikowski is fine with that. Scobee's comments in the Florida Times-Union, however, were a different matter.

The Jaguars play in Oakland on Sunday, and Scobee has been practicing kicking on the dirt.

"I was (mad)," said Janikowski, who declined to say whether he planned to speak to Scobee about the situation. "That's why I'm talking to you guys. I just want to get that straight. I'm not going to talk about (Scobee). That's a different story."

Janikowski, 35, who has been bothered by a sore right calf, missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the first half of Sunday's 21-17 loss at Indianapolis. It was his first miss inside 50 yards since 2011. He made 36 in a row until missing his kick wide left in his first attempt in the regular season working with new holder Marquette King.

"We're getting better," Janikowski said. "We're working every week. It's getting better every week."

Notes – A team spokesman said Sunday's game is sold out and will avoid a local television blackout.

• Safety Tyvon Branch returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday because of a shoulder injury.

• Coach Dennis Allen would neither confirm nor deny whether second-round draft pick Menelik Watson underwent knee surgery last week. Watson has not practiced since Sept. 4.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Michael Wagaman



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