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Rian Lindell, Buffalo’s kicker since 2003, cut in favor of rookie Dustin Hopkins

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

For years, you could always count on Rian Lindell always kind of just being there, kicking away for the Buffalo Bills. He was never incredibly good nor surprisingly bad for the Bills, just reliable. If you ever needed a kicker for your fantasy team on a bye week, he was there.

Lindell has an 81.3 percent accuracy rate in his career, and the last two years he has hit 87.2 percent of his kicks. His 83.3 percent mark with the Bills, a team he kicked for since 2003, is best in team history. The problem was he wasn't really exciting enough, and the Bills cut him. He finishes his Bills career needing just 32 points to pass Steve Christie to be the franchise's all-time leading scorer.

One wonders if the first few times rookie Dustin Hopkins misses a kick, the Bills will miss he guy that hit more than 87 percent the last two years.

The problem with Lindell is he doesn't have a particularly strong leg. He had just one field goal of 50 or more yards the last two seasons, and just 19 touchbacks in 70 kickoffs the last two years. Teams don't draft kickers to cut them at the end of camp, so when the Bills took Hopkins in the sixth round it was obvious the 36-year-old Lindell's time was running out.

Hopkins set the NCAA scoring record for kickers, with 466 points at Florida State. He does have the strong leg Buffalo wanted, hitting 5-of-6 attempts from 50 yards or more last season. He also had 137 touchbacks on 348 kickoffs in college.

Lindell will probably resurface at some point this season. Not too many people are as reliable as he is, at least inside 50 yards. It will just be strange that it won't be with Buffalo anymore.

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