The Pittsburgh Steelers have moved quickly in finding a replacement for kicker Shaun Suisham. The team announced Tuesday that they had selected kicker Garrett Hartley, 29, to join the team.
Truly blessed to be part of the @steelers !!#SteelersNation not even 24 hours & yet yall make it feel like home. pic.twitter.com/Qppd8SkP9e
— Garrett Hartley (@GHartley5) August 12, 2015
Hartley was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 by the Denver Broncos. Later that year he served as the placekicker for the Saints. His NFL career started strong, as he set an NFL record (no longer standing) for the most consecutive successful field goals in the start of a career. He also was the first kicker in NFL history to convert three field goals over 40 yards in the Superbowl (XLIV). He would go on to sign a contact extension making him the highest paid kicker in the game.
2011 was a rough year for Hartley though, who missed the entire season after a he sustained a hip injury during preseason. After returning to the Saints in 2012 and 2013, he struggled with consistency issues, and was consequently replaced in 2013.
The Browns signed Hartley in 2014 as a replacement for Billy Cundiff who was off on a knee injury, but he never saw much gameplay. He was waived by the Browns in March 2015.
By the numbers-
In 2012, Hartley was 18 for 22 (81.8%). 22 for 30 (73.3%) in 2013. He was 3 for 3 last year in Cleveland during the two cold weather games he played in.
Here’s a video Hartley posted to vimeo a few days ago. It contains some of his warmups and some trick shots showing off his leg strength.
After practice yesterday, Coach Tomlin was asked about Hartley.
“He’s an established guy,” Tomlin said. “He’s a been-there-done-that guy,” continuing, “We’ll get to know him along the way.”
Will Hartley be a long term answer, or will the Steelers be shopping the waiver wire in a few weeks? Steeler fans will have to wait and see if Hartley displays his early career reliability over his later career inconsistencies.