Henery reflects on release, time with Eagles

Henery reflects on release, time with Eagles

August 31, 2014, 9:30 am
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Alex Henery was selected by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft. (AP)

A year ago, Alex Henery was the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history at 88 percent.

This year, he’s unemployed.

“That’s the life of a kicker,” Henery said. “That’s how it goes, and you understand that.”

Henery, the Eagles’ fourth-round pick in 2011, was released Saturday to make room for Cody Parkey, an undrafted rookie the Eagles acquired from the Colts on Aug. 20.

Henery watched from the sideline Thursday night as Parkey made field goals from 53 and 54 yards in a preseason game against the Jets, essentially ending Henery’s Eagles career.

“It was just one of those things where I had no control over it, and I’ve always been someone who doesn’t worry too much about things I can’t control,” Henery said Saturday, after officially learning his fate from the Eagles.

“He’s a teammate, I was there to support him, and that was really it. He hit two good kicks. What are you going to do?”

Just like Parkey won the job with two kicks, Henery lost it with two kicks.

He was wide right with a 47-yarder against the Patriots and wide right with a 31-yarder against the Steelers. His only make during the preseason was a 36-yarder against Pittsburgh.

“Both misses, a couple little things happened, and I missed,” Henery said. “I wish they didn’t happen, but they happened and there’s nothing you can do about it but try to learn from it and move on to the next kick.”

Henery is the 15th-leading scorer in Eagles history and the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, with 74 field goals in 86 attempts. He’s been particularly accurate from 40 to 49 yards, making 22 of 26 in his career. But he was only 24 for 28 from 30 to 39, which should be a layup.

His percentage has dropped each year, from an NFL rookie-record 89 percent in 2011 to 87 percent in 2012 to 82 percent last year.

Henery is subject to the NFL waiver claim procedure. He’ll learn at noon if he’s been claimed by another team or is a free agent, free to sign with any NFL team.

Kickers are by nature almost always inconsistent and change teams all the time, so Henery’s case is not unusual.

Of the 40 most-accurate kickers in NFL history with a minimum of 100 attempts, only four spent their entire career with one team: Stephen Gostkowski, Jason Hanson, Josh Scobee and Ryan Succop.

So 36 of the 40 most-accurate kickers ever have played for more than one team.

“If it doesn’t work out in one place, you go to the next place and do your best,” Henery said. “I’m excited to see what will happen next and what’s in store for me.”

Eagles fans may focus on Henery’s lack of deep range — just two 50-yarders in three seasons, no field goals longer than 51 yards — and his costly misses, against the 49ers in 2011 and the Saints in last year’s playoffs.

But the reality is that only three kickers in NFL history who’ve attempted at least 75 field goals are more accurate than Henery — Dan Bailey, Mike Vanderjagt and Nate Kaeding.

And three of his misses have been from 58 yards or deeper, two of them in the 60s. Take away those and he’s the most accurate kicker in NFL history.

He will get another chance. What happens next is anybody’s guess.

“I haven’t lost any confidence in myself,” Henery said. “I still feel like I can be a productive kicker in this league, it’s just a matter of finding the right team, the right place.

“It was definitely a great opportunity coming to Philadelphia and starting my career here. It’s been a good three years here, a good run. No hard feelings. I’m just looking forward to seeing what comes next.”

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