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Brett Lauther gets a kick out of videos as he looks for NFL job

Brett Lauther, shown celebrating a field goal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is hoping to land a placekicking job in the NFL. Postmedia
Brett Lauther, shown celebrating a field goal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is hoping to land a placekicking job in the NFL. - Postmedia

In Brett Lauther’s normal world he would be preparing for a weekend Canadian Football League matchup against the B.C. Lions.

But COVID-19 has taken the normal from the lives of many people around the world and Lauther is no exception. With the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season, Lauther has turned his sights to finding a job in the National Football League.

Instead of kicking in front of tens of thousands of Saskatchewan Roughriders’ fans, he’s at Truro’s TAAC field making videos for potential NFL suitors and posting to social media platforms.

“For me, it was something I really wasn’t comfortable ever doing,” said Lauther. “I’m always doing that stuff but to post the videos because you never know who is going to see it. It’s a pretty crazy world where technology and social media have taken over everything. You have eight-year-old YouTubers making a million dollars, so you never know. If I post this, the right people might see it at the right time.

“My agent thought it was a good idea to have video to document it going along.”

The kicking videos show Lauther making field goals from distances of 40-plus yards. The videos get more follows after Sunday NFL games when kickers have bad games. Fans will tweet at their favourite teams to take a look at Lauther’s videos.

“It’s kind of taken off and there has been so much support,” said Lauther. “There’s so much stuff online, so hey why not. I just like to throw something out once in a while to make sure people know I’m still training and staying with it.”

The 29-year-old Truro native opted out of his contract with the Roughriders when the CFL shuttered the 2020 season to take a shot an NFL job.

“If I didn’t believe, I don’t know why I would even being doing it,” said Lauther about his NFL prospects. “It starts with yourself and it’s not something I don’t just believe anymore it’s something I know I can do. For me, at this point, the hardest part is just getting the opportunity.”

Lauther said he left the Roughriders with the blessing of general manager Jeremy O’Day and head coach Craig Dickenson.

“It’s a void season and guys are opting out so I weighed all the pros and cons. Talked to family and friends. It wasn’t an impulse decision. I talked to our GM, had an hour conversation with our head coach and team president to make sure they all knew that this is why I was doing it and it didn’t have anything to do with the team. They all completely understood and said I would silly not to do it too.

“I didn’t feel like I was leaving the team because I was a free agent in February anyway, so I would have to resign. If I didn’t get anything by then I would just resign with them.”

Lauther knows all too well how fickle the life of a professional placekicker can be and is willing to play the waiting game.

“I, like everyone else, has to adjust to what’s going on. I wish I was preparing to play in the CFL, but I have the attitude right now that I’m just training as if I am.”

Lauther has learned the importance of patience through an off-and-on CFL career.

Brett Lauther kicks a field goal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. - Postmedia
Brett Lauther kicks a field goal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. - Postmedia

The former Saint Mary’s Huskies star was drafted into the CFL in 2013 by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He made six of 10 field goals for the Ticats but spent the next season on the team’s practice roster.

Over the next three years, Lauther was unable to get any game action in the Canadian league despite being on practice rosters for the Toronto Argonauts and the Roughriders.

Then in 2018 he got his opportunity with Saskatchewan and was good on 54 of 60 field goals. He was named a West Division all-star.

His 2019 season was hindered by a groin injury that cost him several games. A 2-for-6 field goal performance on the final day of the season hurt his overall numbers (he was 30 of 35 before that game). He rebounded to make all four field goals in the conference championship game.

He’s proud of his numbers and believes they are NFL worthy.

“I was actually at 86 per cent with the longest field goal in the league (57 yards) until the last game, which obviously wasn't great,” said Lauther. “It was a nice way to bounce back in the Western final and doing my job.

“I didn’t miss any game winners that cost the team. You take away one game and I’m at like 90 per cent in the CFL with the longest kick. So for me, it’s like you start to believe you can do something like this.”

As he waits for any opportunity to sign or make a practice roster, he’s thankful for the counsel of NFL veteran punter Jon Ryan, who played last year for Saskatchewan.

“I was fortunate enough to be around him and meet him,” said Lauther of the 12-year NFL player. “Just seeing someone who has been there and how professional he is. When you see a guy who has won a couple of Super Bowls and you are doing the same things and having the same thought process kind of validates what you are doing.

“He’s such a good guy and such a good teammate. I talk to him daily and he just messaged me about training in L.A. (Los Angeles). ‘Hey man you gotta keep going. There are guys that are not even hitting the ball close to what you are doing right now.’ Just getting words of encouragement from a guy like that who has been there and done it. I’m going to be ready if I get a call and I know I will put my best foot forward.”

He will watch the third week of NFL play on Sunday and continue to train and post updated videos and wait for his chance.

“It sucks because I’m not actually playing and watching everyone else doing it. You’re not being paid and it’s a rough year for everyone. I’m just trying to keep my head up and keep grinding. I’ve been down this road before and trying to make the best of it.”


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