Both Joey Slye and the Washington Football Team are hoping that three is their lucky number.
The 2014 North Stafford High School graduate signed with Washington Tuesday after a tryout Monday. He replaces Chris Blewitt, who was released on Tuesday after two games, and will become the team’s third kicker this season Sunday against Tampa Bay.
It’s also the third team Slye will kick for this season. He was released by the Carolina Panthers during training camp and suited up for three games each for the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers while their regular kickers were injured.
He made four of five field-goal attempts for the Texans and seven of eight for the 49ers (including a 56-yarder that tied his career lone). But he was released each time when the starter became healthy.
In Washington, Slye is reunited with coach Ron Rivera. He spent the first of his two seasons (2019) with Carolina kicking for Rivera and converted 54 of 68 field goal attempts (79.4 percent) in 2019 and 2020 combined. He also holds Virginia Tech’s career records with 78 field goals and 403 points from 2014–17.
Slye is better known for his leg strength than his accuracy; he is 12 for 20 on career field goals beyond 50 yards but has missed 10 of 83 NFL extra-point attempts.
Rivera hopes Slye can bring stability to a position of concern. Washington released Dustin Hopkins last month after nearly six seasons and signed Blewitt, who had never kicked in the NFL and hadn’t kicked at any level since 2016. Blewitt made just two of five field goal attempts; the other three were blocked.
Hopkins, who made 84.5 percent of his field goal attempts in Washington (12 for 14 this year) has since signed with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“The thing everybody understands is kickers are hard to find,” Rivera said last week. “Consistent kickers are even harder to find. Guys that have had success in this league are on teams. There’s not a 90 percent guy out there right now that you could just pick up and he’s going to go out and do it.”