Los Angeles Rams: Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein out for year

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 21, 2017 at 3:12 PM
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Los Angeles Rams Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein is undergoing season-ending back surgery on Thursday and was placed on injured reserve by the team.

Zuerlein's surgery is to repair a herniated disk and his recovery period is slated to be approximately 12 weeks.

Zuerlein, who has an NFL-leading 158 points, was named to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday. He was just nine points away from breaking the NFL record for points by a kicker, held by San Francisco's David Akers (166 in 2011).

He has connected on 38 of 40 field-goal attempts this season.

Rams coach Sean McVay said Zuerlein has been dealing with back issues most of the season.

Zuerlein's issues flared up on him last Saturday night, one day before Los Angeles' 42-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Prior to the contest, he was having issues standing straight.

Zuerlein played but he missed an extra point because of the pain and the Rams later went for it on fourth down despite a big lead due to his problems.

"You're sick for him because of what he's meant to this team, and I know how badly it hurts him," McVay said. "And he's done everything in his power to try to get to this point. I can't stress enough what a gutsy performance it was for him to even play in the Seattle game, which a lot of people don't realize."

The 29-year-old Zuerlein -- nicknamed "Leg-a-Tron" due to his powerful leg -- has made 150 of 181 field-goal attempts during his six NFL seasons.

The Rams signed Sam Ficken to replace Zuerlein. Ficken was one of 10 kickers the team worked out on Wednesday.

Ficken, 25, has never kicked in an NFL game. He played college football at Penn State and made 54 of 75 field-goal attempts between 2011-14.

"All we can do is hopefully put him in good spots to be able to deliver," said McVay, whose team visits the Tennessee Titans this Sunday.

"When you make decisions like this, it's why you bring guys in for a workout. You empower and you trust (special teams coordinator) John Fassel to be able to make the best decision for our team, and you hope that it'll end up working out. That's the only way to go about it."

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