What’s better than a summertime walk in the park? How about one where you can watch the Ravens’ Pro Bowl kicker drill field goals several feet away?
Local celebrity Justin Tucker surprised his fans Sunday evening by inviting them to join him for an impromptu practice session down at Patterson Park in Southeast Baltimore the following morning. There on the turf, he ran some warm-up drills and created a spectacle for dozens of kids at a camp nearby by kicking field goals for about an hour and a half, ESPN reports.
He also generated some countdown scenarios to simulate crunch time, where he’s known for some of his best performances. Of course, he made those kicks, according to ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley. As a bonus, he had his own crowdsourced ball retrievers, since kids were running to pick up the footballs he’d sent down the field.
WJZ’s Mark Viviano got a good shot of Tucker at work up-close:
— Mark Viviano (@MarkWJZ) July 17, 2017
Tucker has gained a loyal following not just for nailing absurdly far-away kicks or hitting his mark with staggering accuracy. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012 after graduating from the University of Texas, and the rest was history. He went 30-for-33 on field goals in his rookie season, and more importantly drilled clutch kicks during the playoffs to help the Ravens win their second-ever Super Bowl.
The following season, he set an NFL distance record by hitting a 61-yard field goal in a domed stadium, and was named to his first Pro Bowl. And after two more solid seasons in 2014 and 2015, he re-emerged as a standout for a team otherwise beset by injuries in 2016, logging an incredible 97 percent field goal completion rate.
All the while, he became a local favorite for his singing, of all skills. Since earning his music degree in college, Tucker has showcased his opera skills for the world, both on TV and at local concerts with top-notch acoustics to really let him shine.
The kicker thanked the small crowd who attended yesterday via Twitter. With impromptu stunts like Monday’s practice, he shouldn’t have much trouble remaining a fan favorite here in Charm City.
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