Friday, November 02, 2001

New kicker could be rival for Rackers

Former Giant Holmes signed to practice squad

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Bengals signed kicker Jaret Holmes to their practice squad Thursday, giving them an option to replace Neil Rackers if Rackers' field goal percentage doesn't improve.

        Holmes, a third-year pro who has made 17 of 18 field goal attempts in regular-season and preseason games, was released Aug.29 by the Giants after spending training camp and most of the 2000 season with New York.

        Holmes was 4-of-4 on field goal attempts with the Giants and Chicago last season and was used on kickoffs in four of his seven games.

        Like Rackers, Holmes has deep kickoffs.

        “Coming out of college, that was my label, strong-legged kicker,” Holmes said Thursday, after his first practice with the Bengals.

        He was one of three kickers who worked out for the Bengals Oct.23.

        Rackers is 7-of-14 on field goal tries this season and made one of two attempts at Detroit.

        “Do I want to play musical chairs with kickers? No. But we have to get above the 50-percent barrier,” Bengals special teams coach Al Roberts said. “We had a position open (on the practice squad), and we're struggling in that area.”

        Could Rackers' next miss be his last?

        “It could be, but wow, we're not talking about a 57-yarder,” Roberts said. “We're talking about a free throw or layup. You've got to come real close hitting 80 to 90 percent of those.”

        Holmes, 25, who's 6 feet, 203 pounds, was 2-of-3 in the preseason for the Giants. He played college ball at Auburn.

        “(Rackers is) the No.1 guy. I take a backseat to him,” he said. “Until they give me the chance to do the other option, I won't give him any problems.”

        The Bengals have a full roster of practice-squad players, after signing Holmes and re-signing cornerback Kevin Kaesviharn Wednesday.


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