I admit that I am fascinated by kickers. Unlike any other position players in football, the kicker’s life is one of utter solitude and immense pressure. While the rest of the team is sweating out summer workouts and banging into each other with ferocity, the kicker stands to the side, sweeping balls into a net and attempting to not get too much dirt on his handsome uniform. Yet, even though their lives are so much different, during a kicker’s career he will almost always have a chance to win (or lose) a game for his team. In the closing moments of a contest, a kicker stands up from a random distance and with one sweep of his leg, determines the fate of all his teammates that he shares little in common with for the rest of the season. So different, yet so crucial to the collective success. The life of a kicker.
Which brings me to Lones Seiber. When you see Lones Seiber, you dont necessarily think athlete. Standing barely up to my shoulder, with legs the size of a California Redwood tree trunk and hair that looks like he is headed to a rave for the night, Seiber is visually much different than the average football player. He wears earrings in not one, but both ears during the games. For reasons that I find curious, he puts the black eye tape under his eye, but it has the UK logo nearly covering the tape, thus making any sun protection likely useless. He stands to the side during games pacing back and forth like any kicker, but he looks as if he would be more comfortable heading to a concert, rather than facing an SEC defensive rush.
Seiber has been the guy at UK since he arrived. Growing up in Knoxville, he originally committed to Tennessee, but changed that commitment when UK offered immediate playing time. Since arriving at UK, his career has been mixed. He struggled early last year and after a couple of missed extra points, there was some grumbling for a change. But he righted the ship, had a solid year and hit some big field goals in the game over LSU. However the season ended not with a bang, but a whimper, as his miss against UT in overtime will forever be remembered in the Bluegrass state. This season, his start has been solid…..three makes, one miss and generally true on every kick. He is looking as if his Junior year will be successful.
Yet, you know at some point this year, a game will rest on his shoulders. When the athletic freaks of nature like Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke, the veteran playmakers like Dicky Lyons and Trevard Lindley and the massive humans like Myron Pryor and Micah Johnson have had their say, trotting onto the field will be a 5’9″ guy with gel in his hair, earrings in his ear and a punk rock star’s sensibility to decide the game. At that moment, all the work during the offseason, regular practice and SEC season will fall squarely on him. And no one, not the coaches, players or fans, will have any say in the outcome. That is the curious nature of the breed of athletes known as football kickers, and there may be no more curious case than our own Lones Seiber.