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Raiders kicker disputes comments about A's

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press
    2013-09-12 17:59

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has kicked off the infield dirt at the Coliseum for so long now that it's become almost second nature to him.

That's why Janikowski was surprised - and a bit angry - to read a published report quoting Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee, claiming Janikowski annually roots for the Oakland Athletics to miss the playoffs so the dirt can be replaced with sod.

Janikowski normally makes it a habit to duck out of the locker room without speaking to reporters, but was waiting in front of his stall when the media was allowed in. He only spoke for two minutes, but his message was clear: The kicker is fully behind the A's and their run to the postseason.

``I root for the A's, I want them to do well,'' Janikowski said Thursday. ``I've been to several A's games. Whatever (Scobee) said, it just blows my mind. The conversation never happened.

``If they make the postseason, I'm excited for them.''

The Raiders are the only NFL team to share facilities with a baseball team, having done so with the A's since 1995. Janikowski, the 17th overall pick in 2000, has been dealing with the dirt since then.

He made a 57-yard field goal off the dirt in overtime to beat the New York Jets in 2008, the longest field goal in overtime in NFL history.

Two years ago in the preseason, Janikowski nailed two more 57-yarders despite being on the dirt.

``It really doesn't bother me,'' Janikowski said. ``I think it's an advantage for us. Guys come in and they think about it so much. And I'm not going to tell them what to do.''

The Raiders routinely have to play off the infield dirt at the Coliseum until baseball season is over. The A's made the playoffs in 2012 and are leading their division again this season, making it likely the configuration of the field won't be changing anytime soon.

Janikowski is fine with that. Scobee's comments in the Florida Times-Union, however, are a different matter.

The Jaguars play in Oakland this week and Scobee has been practicing kicking off the dirt in anticipation of Sunday's game.

``I was (very mad),'' said Janikowski, who declined to say whether he planned to speak to Scobee about the situation.

``That's why I'm talking to you guys. I just want to get that straight. I'm not going to talk about (Scobee). That's a different story.''

The 35-year-old Janikowski, who has been bothered by a sore right calf, got off to a slow start in last week's season-opening loss at Indianapolis. He missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in the first half.

It was the first time since 2011 that Janikowski had missed from under 50 yards. He had made 36 straight until shanking his kick wide left against the Colts, his first attempt in the regular season working with new holder Marquette King.

``We're getting better,'' Janikowski said. ``We're working every week. It's getting better every week.''

NOTES: A team spokesman said the game against the Jaguars is sold out and will avoid a local television blackout. ... SS Tyvon Branch returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday with a shoulder injury. ... Coach Dennis Allen would not confirm nor deny whether second-round draft pick Menelik Watson underwent knee surgery last week. Watson has not practiced since Sept. 4.

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