Four weeks in and four losses later, the Los Angeles Chargers gave their rookie kicker Younghoe Koo the boot and signed veteran kicker and former Charger Nick Novak on Thursday.
The move was a surprise for Novak, who is used to being called up as a mid-season replacement.
“It was kind of a shock to get the call,” Novak said. “Wasn’t expecting that on a Wednesday. But (I’m) excited. I’m just focused on being a good teammate and doing my job.”
NFL teams typical call players up Monday night for a Tuesday day tryout, not Wednesday night for a Thursday tryout
“Right now, we feel like Nick was the best choice,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn explained. “Nick’s been a very accurate kicker in this league for a long time, and he’s been here before. We’re familiar with him, and his experience in big games. As you know, every game we’ve played has been a close game, and every point matters.”
Lynn made the change after announcing he was looking at lineup changes and “anything that’s going to give us the advantage” Monday. Koo made both of his field goal attempts last week in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles after beginning his NFL career by missing three of his first four attempts. Despite this, Lynn said he’s “seen enough.”
“It was time to bring in someone with a little more consistency, and someone with more experience,” he said.
Lynn added that Koo is a talented kicker with a long NFL career.
“I told him, this happens to a lot of rookies,” Lynn said. “A lot of rookies get cut early in their career, and then come back and play for a lot of years. He may be back here, who knows?”
Novak, a 10-year veteran, is the Chargers’ second most accurate kicker in the team’s history after Nate Kaeding, making 101 of 117 kick attempts during his four-year stint as a Bolt (2011-14). He spent the last two seasons with the Houston Texans, making 53 of 62 attempts in 29 games.
On Wednesday, the Chargers waived reserve center Max Tuerk because the team is “pleased with the guys that we have,” Lynn said.
The Chargers waived Tuerk on Tuesday, one day after he became eligible to return to the Chargers’ active roster after being suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
“Maybe there will be an opportunity for him down the road,” Lynn said.
Starting center Spencer Pulley has played all 246 offensive snaps this season.
When Tuerk was suspended on Aug. 22 he said “this offseason, I made the mistake of taking over-the-counter supplements. In doing so, I opened myself up to the possibility of consuming a tainted supplement — something that ultimately led to a positive test for a banned substance.
I accept responsibility for my actions and understand the NFL’s policy is very clear on this matter. This is a very hard way to learn a lesson and I will never make this mistake again.”
The 6-foot-5, 298-pound Tuerk was chosen by the Chargers in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft out of USC, the 66th overall selection. He was inactive for all 16 of the team’s games in 2016.
Tuerk played in the first two preseason games this season as a reserve before his suspension.
The Chargers signed undrafted rookie free agent running back LeShun Daniels to the practice squad Wednesday.
Daniels, who played college football at Iowa, was released by the New England Patriots on Sept. 2 as they reduced their roster to the regular-season 53-player limit.
The Chargers had an open spot on the practice squad because they waived defensive end Whitney Richardson on Tuesday.
Lynn said he would meet later Wednesday with “someone that is close to the” Los Angeles Police Department “just to talk, just to have a conversation, see what we can do for our players to start building some bridges between our players, the community, whatever we can come up with.”
— City News Service contributed to this report
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