Shane Lechler

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Shane Lechler
refer to caption
Lechler with the Houston Texans in 2016
Free agent
Position: Punter
Personal information
Born: (1976-08-07) August 7, 1976 (age 42)
East Bernard, Texas
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school: East Bernard (TX)
College: Texas A&M
NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 5 / Pick: 142
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2017
Punts: 1,444
Punting yards: 68,678
Average punt: 47.6
Inside 20: 469
Player stats at NFL.com

Edward Shane Lechler[1] (/ˈlɛklər/; born August 7, 1976) is an American football punter who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Texas A&M, and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

Lechler has been named an All-Pro nine times during his career. He has led the league in punting average five times, is the NFL's all-time leader in career punting average and is the active iron man leader for consecutive games played by an NFL player.

Early years

Lechler attended East Bernard High School in East Bernard, Texas,[2] and was a standout in football, basketball, golf, and baseball. As quarterback, punter and placekicker, he led East Bernard to the state quarterfinals his senior year, completing 87 of 101 (86.1%) passes for 1,640 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his high school career, he passed for nearly 5,000 yards and averaged 41.6 yards per punt. His longest punt in high school was 85 yards.

College career

Lechler attended Texas A&M University, and played for the Texas A&M Aggies football team from 1996 to 1999. A versatile and talented player, he was not only the Aggies' punter but also kicked off, was the long field goal kicker, served as the holder for short field goals and PATs, and was the emergency quarterback. As a junior, he completed a 29-yard pass on a fake punt against Baylor and threw a touchdown pass to Dan Campbell on a fake field goal in a hard-fought 17–10 win against Texas Tech.[3]

When injuries depleted the depth chart, Lechler served as the backup quarterback for the 1998 Big 12 championship game. At one point in the game, the Aggies' last healthy quarterback Branndon Stewart appeared shaken and a nervous-looking Lechler threw warmup passes on the sideline. Stewart was able to stay in the game, however, and led the Aggies to a 36–33 victory over Kansas State, earning the Aggies their only Big 12 championship. Because of his contributions in so many facets of the game, coach R. C. Slocum called Lechler "the team's most valuable player."

Lechler started his career off strong at Texas A&M, earning Freshman All-America honors in 1996 with a punting average of 42.7 yards. After his sophomore season, he was named to the All-Big 12 team after breaking the Aggie single season record with an average of 47.0 yards per punt. He was named to The Sporting News All-America team as a junior in 1998, and was also an Associated Press first team All-American honors as a senior in 1999, a year in which his 46.5 yards per punt is second in the record books only to his own sophomore record of 47.0. He is the NCAA record holder for career punt average with a mark of 44.7 yards per punt. He made six career punts of 69 yards or longer, and 38 "coffin-corner" kicks in his final two seasons. He was also voted to the All-Big 12 Conference first team by the league’s head coaches, The Associated Press, the Austin American Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, Football News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle and the Kansas City Star.

Lechler had only one punt blocked, against Ohio State in the 1999 Sugar Bowl, and only one of his punts was returned for a touchdown, during his college career.

Professional career

Oakland Raiders

Since entering the NFL in 2000, Lechler has set various NFL and Oakland Raiders records.[4] He booted at least one punt of 50 yards or more in 33 consecutive games from Week 13 of 2003 through Week 14 of 2005, the longest streak by any player since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. He has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice, and has played in 158 regular-season league games and seven playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVII. He was a Pro Bowler in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011, and was voted All-Pro in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. He holds the NFL record for best average per punt in a career (47.3), surpassing even the legendary Sammy Baugh. He has the five best single-season punting averages in Raiders history, including a career-best 51.1 in 2009, the second highest single season average in league history (to Baugh's 51.4 in 1940).

2000 season

On September 3, 2000, in the season opener against the San Diego Chargers, Lechler had a season-high 10 punts for a season-high 424 net yards (42.4 average) in his NFL debut.[5] On November 5, 2000, against the Kansas City Chiefs, he converted all seven extra point attempts in the game.[6] On November 19, 2000, against the New Orleans Saints, he had four punts for 219 net yards for a season-high 54.75 average.[7] In his rookie season, he had 65 punts for 2,984 net yards for a 45.91 average.[8]

The Raiders qualified for the playoffs with a 12–4 regular season record.[9] Lechler made his playoff debut in the Wild Card Round against the Miami Dolphins. In the 27–0 victory, he had five punts for 234 net yards (46.8 average).[10] In the AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens, he had seven punts for 315 net yards (45.00 average) in the 16–3 loss.[11]

2001 season

On September 9, 2001, in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Lechler had four punts for 185 net yards (46.25 average).[12] On September 23, against the Miami Dolphins, he had a season-high seven punts for a season-high 345 net yards for a 49.29 average.[13] On October 14, against the Indianapolis Colts, he had five punts for 262 net yards for a season-high 52.4 average.[14] Overall, he recorded 73 total punts for 3,375 net yards for a 46.23 average.[15]

Lechler and the Raiders once again made the playoffs, but their season ended against the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round.[16]

2002 season

Lechler's third professional season saw his team have a lot of success. On September 29, against the Tennessee Titans, he had three punts for 134 net yards for a 44.67 average in his season debut.[17] On October 6, 2002, the Buffalo Bills, he had five punts for a season-high 250 net yards for a 50.00 average.[18] On December 22, against the Denver Broncos, he had a season-high six punts for 244 net yards for a 40.67 average.[19] Overall, in the regular season, he totaled 53 punts for 2,251 net yards for a 42.47 average.[20]

The Raiders finished with a 11-5 record in the 2002 season and made the playoffs.[21] After two victories over the New York Jets in the Divisional Round and the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship, Lechler appeared in his first Super Bowl.[22][23] In Super Bowl XXXVII, he had five punts for 195 net yards for a 39.00 average in the 48–21 loss.[24]

2003 season

On September 7, in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans, he had seven punts for 353 net yards for a 50.43 average.[25] On October 5, against the Chicago Bears, he had three punts for 166 net yards for a season-high 55.33 average.[26] On December 28, against the San Diego Chargers, he had a season-high nine punts for a season-high 424 net yards for a 47.11 average.[27] In the 2003 season, he had 96 total punts for 4,503 net yards for a 46.91 average.[28]

2004 season

Lechler started his fifth professional season in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had three punts for 132 net yards for a 44.00 average.[29] On October 17, against the Denver Broncos, he had a season-high seven punts for a season-high 333 net yards for a 47.57 average.[30] On November 7, against the Carolina Panthers, he had three punts for 167 net yards for a season-high 55.67 average.[31] He finished the season with 73 total punts for 3,409 net yards for a 46.70 average.[32]

2005 season

On September 8, against the New England Patriots, he had eight punts for 356 net yards for a 44.5 average in the season opener.[33] On Christmas Eve, against the Denver Broncos, he had five punts for 295 net yards for a season-high 59.00 average.[34] On New Year's Eve, against the New York Giants, he had a season-high nine punts for a season-high 421 net yards for a 46.78 average.[35] Overall, in the 2005 season, he had 82 total punts for 3,744 net yards for a 45.66 average.[36]

2006 season

On September 11, in a shutout loss to the San Diego Chargers in the season opener, he had nine punts for 420 net yards for a 46.67 average.[37] On November 6, against the Seattle Seahawks, he had a season-high ten punts for a season-high 450 net yards for a 45.00 average.[38] Overall, in the 2006 season, he totaled 77 punts for 3,660 net yards for a 47.53 average as the Raiders struggled to a 2–14 season.[39][40]

2007 season

Lechler was part of the 2007 Oakland Raiders team that went 4–12 on the season.[41] On October 21, against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had a season-high nine punts for a season-high 461 net yards for a 51.22 average.[42] On November 11, against the Chicago Bears, he had nine punts for 433 net yards for a 48.11 average.[43] Overall, he recorded 73 total punts for 3,585 net yards for a 49.11 average.[44] In the 2008 Pro Bowl game, he punted for 55 yards.[45]

2008 season

Lechler punts at a home game against the Atlanta Falcons in 2008

On September 8, in the season opener against the Denver Broncos, Lechler had five punts for 255 net yards for a 51.00 average.[46] On November 9, against the Carolina Panthers, he had a season-high 11 punts for a season-high 556 net yards for a 50.55 average.[47] On November 23, in the second divisional game against the Denver Broncos, he had three punts for 176 net yards for a season-high 58.67 average.[48] Overall, in the 2008 season, he totaled 90 punts for 4,391 yards for a 48.79 average.[49]

2009 season

Lechler with the Raiders in 2009

On February 18, 2009, he signed a four-year, $12 million contract, making him the highest-paid punter in NFL history.[50]

On September 14, in the season opener against the San Diego Chargers, Lechler had four punts for 195 net yards for a 48.75 average.[51] On September 20, against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had seven punts for 398 net yards for a season-high 56.86 average.[52] On November 15, in the second divisional game against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had a season-high 11 punts for a season-high 531 net yards for a 48.27 average.[53] Overall, on the season, he had 96 punts for 4,909 net yards for a 51.14 average.[54] His 4,909 yards in the 2009 season marked the Raider record for most punting yards in a season.[55]

2010 season

Lechler with the Raiders in October 2010.

On September 12, in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans, he had four punts for 219 net yards for a season-high 54.75 average.[56] On November 21, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had a season-high eight punts for a season-high 390 net yards for a 48.75 average.[57] Overall, on the 2010 season, he had 77 total punts for 3,618 net yards for a 46.99 average.[58]

2011 season

On September 12, in the season opener against the Denver Broncos, Lechler had six punts for 349 net yards for a season-high 58.17 average.[59] In Week 6 of the 2011 season, as the holder for placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, he threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss on a fake field goal attempt.[60] In Week 12, on November 27, he kicked a career-best 80-yard punt against the Chicago Bears. That punt, kicked from his own 10-yard line (the Oakland 20-yard line was the line of scrimmage), bounced at the Chicago 11 and went into the endzone after traveling 79 yards in the air, setting a franchise record for the longest punt by an Oakland Raider.[61][62] On December 4, against the Miami Dolphins, he had a season-high eight punts for a season-high 372 net yards for a 46.5 average.[63] Overall, in the 2011 season, he recorded 78 total punts for 3,960 yards for a 50.77 average.[64]

2012 season

On September 10, against the San Diego Chargers, he had a quiet season opener with only two punts for 114 net yards for a season-high 57.00 average.[65] In the next game, against the Miami Dolphins, his use increased with a season-high nine punts for a season-high 422 net yards for a 46.89 average.[66] Lechler and the Raiders struggled to a 4–12 season in 2012 as he had 81 total punts for 3,826 net yards for a 47.23 average.[67][68]

Houston Texans

2013 season

On March 23, 2013, Lechler signed with the Houston Texans. The contract is a three-year deal worth $5.5 million with a $1 million signing bonus.[69]

On September 9, against the San Diego Chargers, he had three punts for 135 net yards for a 45.00 average in his Texans debut.[70] During Week 10 on November 10, Lechler became just the sixth player in NFL history to reach the 50,000 punt-yard mark during his second punt of the game against the Arizona Cardinals. On November 17, against his former team, the Oakland Raiders, he had a season-high nine punts for 442 net yards for a 49.11 average.[71] Overall, on the 2013 season, he recorded 88 punts for 4,189 yards for a 47.60 average.[72]

2014 season

On September 7, in the season opener against the Washington Redskins, Lechler had six punts for 306 net yards for a 51.00 average.[73] On October 9, against the Indianapolis Colts, he had four punts for 218 net yards for a season-high 54.5 average.[74] During Week 15 on December 14, third-string quarterback Tom Savage was injured with under 2 minutes left and Houston down 7, needing a touchdown to tie the game. All of their other quarterbacks were injured, and Lechler, a former high school quarterback, began to warm up. Houston called a timeout after the injury and Savage stayed in the game, throwing an interception on the very next play. Lechler never entered the game. On December 21, against the Baltimore Ravens, he had a season-high eight punts for a season-high 361 net yards for a 45.13 average.[75] Overall, on the 2014 season, he had 83 punts for 3,845 net yards for a 46.33 average.[76]

2015 season

On September 13, against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had seven punts for 329 net yards for a 47.00 average.[77] On November 22, against the New York Jets, he had eight punts for a season-high 417 net yards for a 52.13 average.[78] Overall, on the 2015 season, he had 95 total punts for 4,497 net yards for a 47.34 average.[79]

The Texans finished the 2015 season with a 9–7 record and qualified for the playoffs.[80] In his first playoff game in several years, Lechler had five punts for 228 net yards (45.60 average) in the 30–0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.[81]

2016 season

On March 11, 2016, Lechler signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Texans.[82]

On September 11, in the season opener against the Chicago Bears, Lechler had five punts for 243 net yards for a 48.6 average.[83] On December 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals, he had a season-high eight punts for a season-high 371 net yards for a 46.38 average.[84] Overall, on the 2016 season, he had 72 total punts for 3,423 net yards for a 47.54 average.[85]

The Texans finished the 2016 season with a 9–7 record and qualified for the playoffs.[86] In the Wild Card Round victory over the Oakland Raiders, Lechler had nine punts for 414 net yards (46.00 average).[87] In the Divisional Round against the New England Patriots, he had eight punts for 341 net yards (42.63 average) in the 34–16 loss.[88]

2017 season

On March 8, 2017, Lechler signed a one-year contract extension with the Texans.[89]

On September 10, in the season-opening loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Lechler had five punts for 216 net yards for a 43.2 average.[90] On December 17, in the second divisional game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he had a season-high 11 punts for a season-high 518 net yards for a 47.09 average.[91] Overall, in the 2017 season, Lechler and the Texans finished with a 4–12 record.[92] He finished with 92 total punts for 4,507 yards for a 48.99 average.[93]

2018 season

On March 8, 2018, Lechler signed a one-year contract for $2 million to remain with the Texans.[94]

On August 31, 2018, Lechler was released by the Texans. Afterwards he stated he does not plan on retiring.[95]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
NFL record
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team G Punting
Punts Yds Lng Blk Avg
2000 OAK 16 65 2,984 69 1 45.9
2001 OAK 16 73 3,375 65 1 46.2
2002 OAK 14 53 2,251 70 0 42.5
2003 OAK 16 96 4,503 73 0 46.9
2004 OAK 16 73 3,409 67 0 46.7
2005 OAK 16 82 3,744 64 0 45.7
2006 OAK 16 77 3,660 67 1 47.5
2007 OAK 16 73 3,585 70 0 49.1
2008 OAK 16 90 4,391 70 0 48.8
2009 OAK 16 96 4,909 70 0 51.1
2010 OAK 16 77 3,618 68 0 47.0
2011 OAK 16 78 3,960 80 0 50.8
2012 OAK 16 81 3,826 68 1 47.2
2013 HOU 16 88 4,189 65 0 47.6
2014 HOU 16 83 3,845 71 1 46.3
2015 HOU 16 95 4,497 64 0 47.3
2016 HOU 16 72 3,423 62 0 47.5
2017 HOU 16 92 4,507 68 0 49.0
Career 286 1,444 68,678 80 5 47.6

Postseason

Year Team G Punting
Punts Yds Lng Blk Avg
2000 OAK 2 12 549 69 0 34.6
2001 OAK 2 11 441 65 0 28.4
2002 OAK 3 11 423 70 0 35.2
2015 HOU 1 5 228 64 0 38.8
2016 HOU 2 17 755 62 0 36.4
Career 10 56 2,396 70 0 42.8

Personal life

Lechler is married to Erin Gibson, who was an All-American volleyball player at Texas A&M. He comes from an athletic family: both of his parents participated in Baylor athletics, and his brother Derek was a punter for Texas A&M. Lechler has said he is good friends with former teammate and All-Pro defensive end J. J. Watt.

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Small-town guy making big-time kicks: A&M's Brantly ranked fourth in yards per punt".
  3. ^ "Shane Lechler". Pro Football Weekly. Archived from the original on June 17, 2002.
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  92. ^ "2017 Houston Texans Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  93. ^ "Shane Lechler 2017 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  94. ^ "Texans reportedly agree to re-sign punter Shane Lechler". ESPN.com. March 8, 2018.
  95. ^ Patra, Kevin (August 31, 2018). "Texans release 42-year-old punter Shane Lechler". NFL.com.

External links

  • Houston Texans bio
  • Shane Lechler profile on ESPN.com
  • 12th Man Magazine article
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