Kicking games: Baumann cut CFLs will audition three today

September 27, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Scratch Charlie Baumann as the Baltimore CFLs' long-term answer to Donald Igwebuike.

And say hello to Don Silvestri and Daron Alcorn.

The CFLs' kicking game got more curious yesterday when coach Don Matthews cut Baumann one day after he missed his second 22-yard field goal in two games.

In his brief Baltimore stint, Baumann made six of 10 field goal tries, missing from distances of 22, 34 and 36 yards.

To find a replacement, Baltimore will bring in Silvestri and Alcorn, both cut by NFL teams this summer, to compete with punter Josh Miller for the job.

Twelve weeks into the season, it's back to training camp for the kickers.

"We're going to open up the competition," Matthews said. "We'll do things similar to training camp, and make a decision. How quickly? If the answer jumps out at me, I'll make a quick decision."

Kicking camp starts today at Kirk Field. Jim Popp, personnel director for the CFLs, scouted the newcomers during a two-week tour of NFL camps last summer.

"I saw 14 kickers I knew weren't going to make it in the NFL," he said. "I rated four as top kickers. These are two of the four."

Silvestri, 25, was in camp with the Buffalo Bills in preseason, but had no chance of beating out Steve Christie. He also was cut by the Sacramento Gold Miners (1993) in the CFL and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks (1992). He played two years at the University of Pittsburgh, and attended the CFLs' tryout camp at Hampton University last March.

Alcorn, 23, was cut by the Chicago Bears this summer and by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993. He played collegiately at Akron, where he is the school's second-leading career scorer.

"Both have extremely strong legs," Popp said. "And both are well over 50 yards [in range]."

Miller is the most intriguing candidate, though. If he handled both kicking jobs, it would free another roster spot for a position player.

"He has to be as good as the other people [to win the job]," Matthews said.

Miller had been working on kickoffs even before Igwebuike was released Sept. 12. Unhappy with Igwebuike's distance on kickoffs, Matthews cut him after the NFL veteran missed field goals of 32 and 21 yards in consecutive games.

Miller went to Arizona as a place-kicker, but won a job instead as a punter. Signed by the CFLs last June, he asked to compete for the kicking job as well.

He sprained his right ankle -- he's a left-footed kicker -- and suffered a bruised knee when he had to retrieve a high snap in Sunday's 42-27 win over the Ottawa Rough Riders. But Matthews said he was healthy, and would be able to play in Saturday night's rematch with the Riders.

"We've got to find the one who reacts to the situation best," Popp said. "Usually, he'll come out of the block right away."

Meanwhile, Igwebuike, who hit 27 of 36 field-goal tries in the first 10 games, remains unemployed.

"At this point, he is not a consideration," Matthews said.

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