TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Succop’s career was at a crossroads after an injury-plagued 2019 season led the Tennessee Titans to release him, but he found a new home with the Buccaneers and feels blessed to be playing in his first Super Bowl.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who selected Succop with the final pick in the 2009 draft before letting him go after five seasons, now stand in the way of the 34-year-old’s boyhood dreams of Super Bowl glory.
“It has been an amazing year,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“I’m very blessed to be here. Some of the things I went through last year in Tennessee were really difficult. There was certainly some adversity.”
Succop had knee surgery prior to the 2019 season but it did not go as planned and he struggled in the six games he appeared in for the Titans, making just one of six field goal attempts. The team parted ways with him in March 2020 after six seasons.
“Anytime you try to come back from an injury and you don’t come back the way you want to, it can be frustrating,” he said.
“One of the cool things about that is that oftentimes in my life or in football, when you go through some adversity, you grow as a person,” said Succop, who says a prayer before every kick.
“It has helped mature me as a person. I think I’ve grown in my faith through that. It has been amazing to see how the Lord has healed me and brought me to a great situation here in Tampa.”
The kicker position had long been a weak spot for the Bucs. But Succop turned that around with an outstanding 2020 season where he made 28 of 31 field goals and 52 of 57 extra points en route to setting the franchise’s single-season scoring record.
“When I ended the (2019) season on (the injured reserve list) and was away from the game for a little bit … it makes you realize how much you love the game and how much you miss playing it.
“So to be able to come back and the way the Lord has blessed this season, it’s probably one of the best seasons that I’ve ever had.”
The Super Bowl is Sunday in Tampa.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Peter Cooney)