Yes, the same Jeff Reed who kicked for the Steelers from 2002 up through the first nine games of 2010. Reed was released by Pittsburgh after making only 15 of 22 field goal attempts, but finished the year strong by making 9 of 10 field goal attempts for the 49ers after their regular kicker Joe Nedney went on IR. Reed will be competing with former Seahawks seventh-rounder Brandon Coutu to be Seattle’s new kicker.
Coutu has already beaten out one competitor for the job, as rookie Wes Byrum was released earlier today. However, there’s a big difference between outplaying an undrafted free agent and outplaying a nine year veteran. Reed has connected on 213 of 259 career field goal attempts, or 82.2%. To break that number down further, he’s 100% inside 20 yards (5 of 5), 91.4% between 20 and 29 yards (64 of 70), 90.4% between 30 and 39 (66 of 73), 66% between 40 and 49 (43 of 65), and just 53% from 50+ yards (8 of 15). His long distance numbers are pretty average, but his stats are still respectable when you consider that he was working against the swirling winds at Heinz Field for eight games a season, one of the hardest venues in the league to kick in accurately.
Of course, Coutu matched Olindo Mare field goal for field the last time he was on the roster and only lost out due to Mare’s superior kickoff distance, so if he’s stayed in practice Reed isn’t going to be able to just walk in to a roster spot. This should be a good competition, and may the best kicker win.
Oh, one other thing: for those of you who like to go out for a drink in Seattle’s bars, you might want to keep an eye out for Reed while he’s in town. Otherwise, you might find yourself an unwitting participant in one of his drunken photo shoots. The dude loves his liquor, I’ll give him that.