KC Chiefs’ Butker wants shot at 70-yard FG: ‘I feel like I have the distance for it’

·3 min read
Emily Curiel/ecuriel@kcstar.com

During pre-game warmups on Saturday, Harrison Butker made a 66-yard field goal while going with the wind at Soldier Field in Chicago. Other times this offseason, he’s attempted kicks of 70-plus.

So would the Chiefs kicker like the chance to get a potential 70-yard try at some point in a game this season?

“Yeah, definitely,” Butker said with a smile Wednesday. “I mean, the conditions have to be right. It’s got to be warm, probably some wind at your back.

“... But I feel like I have the distance for it, definitely.”

The reason for that, Butker says, is the offseason work he put into becoming more efficient.

Watch the best kickers, like Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, Butker says, and their kicks tend to sail perfectly end over end. Also, the laces stay in the middle visually as the ball sails toward the crossbar.

Butker says his kicks haven’t always looked like that. So in the past few months, he’s worked on keeping his foot perpendicular with the ball to get that end-over-end outcome. He’s also focused on finishing through the ball for more power while getting rid of an old habit of pulling his foot left immediately after contact.

“I’ve always swung really hard, but the ball hasn’t necessarily gone as far as I feel like it should for a guy that’s 6-4 and I think relatively explosive,” Butker said. “I think kickoffs, my leg power really shows, but on field goals, I think I’ve just changed some technique stuff so I’m even more efficient.”

The result?

“I think,” Butker said, “the ball is going as far as it ever has now for field goals.”

Saturday’s pregame provided some proof.

Butker made the 66-yarder in warmups while saying that was one that he “didn’t even hit well. I’m surprised that went in.” He later attempted one from about 72 yards that fell short of the crossbar, saying it was one that he “hit too high.”

In case you were wondering, the NFL record is 66 yards, set by Tucker last season. Butker credited the Ravens kicker and five-time All-Pro for “evolving the game and pushing the limits” for NFL kickers.

Butker, who missed practice Monday with an ankle injury, returned to drills Tuesday and Wednesday and reported that his sitting out was only precautionary.

While he was out, safety Justin Reid made seven of nine field-goal attempts for the Chiefs at training camp. Reid also made an extra point during Saturday’s game, hugging Butker in celebration when he came back to the sideline.

“You have so many people that hit you up on Twitter or Instagram saying, ‘Man, I’m gonna take your job because I made a kick on a high school field, right?’ But to do it in a game, that’s super impressive, you know?” Butker said of Reid. “These stadiums, they generate wind. Fields can be different than just a turf field. And he went out there, and he made the kick when the pressure was on.”

Butker hopes that at some point he’ll get to attempt a pressure kick from a distance he’s never tried before.

Could it be 66? 68? Even 70?

That all depends on the situation — and whether or not he can prove in warmups that he can connect from that range.

“I feel like I have a lot of distance now,” Butker said, “and that’ll hopefully come up this season.”