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Helmets Off: Steven Hauschka

Posted Dec 30, 2010

We get to know one of the newest additions to the Broncos, kicker Steven Hauschka, in this week's edition of Helmets Off.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Steven Hauschka joined the Broncos before Week 14, after Matt Prater suffered a right groin injury.

He proceeded to split the uprights with two field goals and an extra point in a loss to Arizona. Since then, he has made all four of his field goal attempts -- including a long of 46 yards -- and five extra point attempts. The third-year kicker has missed just one kick as a Bronco.

In this week's Helmets Off, Hauschka talks about joining the team late in the season, winning a championship in the United Football League and a potential career as a brain surgeon.

Where were you when you got the call to join the Broncos?
"I was actually kicking in my hometown at the high school turf field. I came back from kicking and saw a bunch of missed calls on my phone. One of them was from my agent, so I knew something was going on."

Was it stressful to jump in when you didn't have much of a chance to get to know your snapper and holder?
"That's part of the job. It took a few days to get the rhythm down with Lonie (Paxton) and Britton (Colquitt), but now I feel much more comfortable with the guys. That's part of the job and I think a lot of kickers have had to deal with that."

How have you adapted to the locker room, joining in the final month of the season?
"There's a lot of good people in this locker room. The guys have been real receptive and real welcoming towards me. I think there's a lot of good guys on this team and it was good to get a win last week."

Now that you've had a game in INVESCO Field at Mile High, do you feel a difference kicking at a high altitude?
"It's definitely not a myth, there's some truth to it. The ball definitely flies a little farther out here. One thing I'm noticing is you can hit a different ball here to get touchbacks more consistently than you could at sea level. It's just about finding what ball travels best here and how to execute that kick every time."

Have you talked much with Matt Prater and did he give you any advice about kicking in Denver?
"Matt and I are real friendly. We've talked kicking -- he gave me some pointers here and there, but nothing specific to kicking in Denver. But it's always fun to talk kicking with another kicker."

You've missed just one field goal as a Bronco -- do you look at this opportunity as an audition, for this team or another?
"I know that you don't get many chances in this league, and you've got to take advantage of the opportunities you're given. When I was brought in here it didn't really matter the circumstance with Matt -- I understand that circumstance and I have a lot of respect for Matt and what he's done as a kicker -- but I'm coming in here and trying to do my best and help out the team as much as I can. I'm not really worried about the future or anything like that. I think when you make kicks in games, good things happen."

What have you been able to take from the different teams you've kicked for in your career?
"I think it shows that you're only as good as your last kick, and you've just got to keep showing that you can do it on Sundays."

How was your experience playing in the UFL?
"It was a good experience. It was real valuable for me as a kicker to keep practicing and keep playing in games, so I was ready to go right when the Broncos needed me."

Did it add to the experience that your team, the Las Vegas Locomotives, won the championship?
"That was exciting. It was a fun experience. It definitely made it a lot more fun in the UFL to win it."

Did that help you stay ready when you jumped back to the NFL just a couple weeks later?
"Yeah, exactly. I kept on a three-or-four day week schedule and was ready to go when the tryout came."

You earned your bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Middlebury College -- is that a career path you plan to get into after football?
"Right now I'm just going to pursue football, but if I need to fall back on it, I guess it's not a bad degree."