BEREA, Ohio — While kickers around the NFL were missing field goal attempts and point-after tries on Sunday, former Florida Atlantic University specialist Greg Joseph was soaking up some free time in Florida.
However, just 24 hours later, Joseph found himself in Berea at a tryout for the Cleveland Browns, and despite competing against several NFL veterans and 25 missed kicks over his four years at FAU, he earned a contract with the team.
“Just living the South Florida life,” Joseph said Tuesday. “I was out by the water, just having some fun with some buddies, relaxing, watching the games. Nothing crazy.”
The Browns signed Joseph and waived second-year kicker Zane Gonzalez after the latter missed four kicks in Sunday’s 21-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, which brought his failed attempts to five over the first two games of the regular season.
And after spending training camp with the Miami Dolphins, Joseph is “absolutely” ready to make the transition to the NFL regular season.
“Been working a lot. Been busting my butt,” Joseph said. “I’m ready to give everything I’ve got. I know that there’s still room for me to get better, and I’m aware of that. That’s something I’m keying in on and definitely looking to improve my game on here and keep elevating it.”
During Joseph’s four-game stint with the Dolphins, he made all three of his field goal tries and both extra-point attempts before being released at the end of the preseason.
“I learned under players and coaches there to become a man of routine, and that’s worked for legends that have kicked in this league, and basically, just stay that way,” Joseph said. “Like I said, ‘Stay in the middle.’ I learned that there, too. If I make three kicks in a row, I’m not going to get too high, and if I miss a couple, I’m not going to get too low. Staying somewhere in the middle.”
“Staying somewhere in the middle” is exactly what Joseph did during Monday’s tryout.
Initially, Joseph missed a field goal from 56 yards wide to the right, but on a second attempt, he put it through the uprights. By his count, Joseph made six of his seven field goal attempts before moving onto kickoffs during the workout.
“I felt like I hit the ball well,” Joseph said. “Just came out here and focused on hitting my ball. There’s obviously some great competition out there, but didn’t watch them. Just focused on me and ecstatic to be here. Ready to give everything I’ve got and have a great time here.”
Joseph spent Tuesday acclimating himself to working with long snapper Charley Hughlett and holder Britton Colquitt, and by Thursday’s game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium, he expects to be up to speed.
“I believe I’m here for a reason,” Joseph said. “You can look at it any way you want, but I believe I got here for a reason and I’m going to look to the biggest thing is proving you belong and believing you belong. That plays big in a kicker’s head, and I believe that’s something I’ll work to and get better at.
“‘Where ever coach needs me to,’ that’s gonna be my answer every time, and I believe I have a big leg and have been working on accuracy big time, but wherever coach needs me to, I’m sure he has a number in his head, and wherever tells me, I’m going for it.”
After kicking mistakes cost the Cleveland Browns against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, the team has already replaced Zane Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has been informed he has been released by Cleveland, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Browns are signing Greg Joseph, who spent the preseason with the Miami Dolphins before losing the battle to Jason Sanders.
Gonzalez was dealing with a groin injury before missing two field goals and two extra points Sunday. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, he will have an MRI Monday.
Considering he missed a possible go-ahead extra point with under two minutes left in the last game as well as a possible game-tying field goal with eight seconds remaining, the Browns had little choice but to move on at the position.
He also missed his only attempt in the Week 1 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 2017 seventh-round pick went 15 of 20 on field-goal attempts last season but was much worse to start the 2018 season.
Cleveland worked out multiple veteran kickers Monday, including Blair Walsh and Cairo Santos, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. However, they ended up with Joseph, who is an undrafted, free-agent rookie.
The 24-year-old played four years at Florida Atlantic, finishing 15 of 21 on field goals as a senior as well as 64 of 68 on extra points.