Huerta kicks off Baltimore stay

April 25, 1995|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Baltimore's Canadian Football League franchise didn't get to unveil its 1995 schedule as hoped at yesterday's news conference at Memorial Stadium, but it did get to introduce new place-kicker Carlos Huerta.

And for that, club owner Jim Speros was grateful.

"I think the signing of Carlos shows our commitment to winning here," said Speros, who was told by league officials that the schedule would have to wait at least another day. "Carlos is someone this organization was looking for. I know he has other goals in his life, but I think if we can get him here in Baltimore and show him the enthusiasm, we can make him a long-term Baltimore Football Club player for us."

Huerta -- pronounced "where-ta" -- was Baltimore's first selection (12th pick overall) in last Tuesday's dispersal draft of the Las Vegas Posse. A consensus first-team All-America place-kicker who helped the Miami Hurricanes to three national championships, Huerta is expected to fill the shoes of Donald Igwebuike, a fan favorite.

"I have a lot of respect for Donald, but now it's my responsibility to make everyone forget about him," said Huerta, donning a Baltimore Football Club baseball cap and cradling his No. 6 game jersey. "I believe I have talent that I like to have other people see. A lot of people think the kicking game is boring, but I like to make it exciting. My goal is to be the MVP of this team and I will try to set a new standard at my position."

After his career at Miami, the 5-foot-7, 185-pounder was selected by San Diego in the 12th round of the 1992 NFL draft and was released before the start of the season. In 1993, he attended the Houston Oilers' training camp and failed to beat out incumbent Al Del Greco.

Kicking for the now-defunct Posse last season, Huerta, 25, was second in the league in field-goal accuracy (82.6 percent), including eight field goals of at least 50 yards.

"Carlos is truly an outstanding kicker and we'd like to have him here for years to come, but I don't know if we'll be able to because that's how good he is," said Jim Popp, Baltimore's assistant general manager. "We feel like an addition like Carlos Huerta will help achieve that championship that we fell just a couple points short of last year."

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