Back in September, when Sebastian Janikowski agreed to a one-year deal to stay in Oakland, we wrote that he would likely be kicking for the Raiders until the end of time.
Well, it turns out we were sadly mistaken.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that the Raiders will not bring back their longtime kicker in 2018. That means Janikowski, the longest tenured player in franchise history, will either switch teams for the first time since being drafted in the first round in 2000 or call it quits.
Raiders informed kicker Sebastian Janikowski today that they do not plan to bring him back for the 2018 season, per source. An 18-year run with Raiders comes to an end.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 14, 2018
In an odd coincidence, Janikowski seems to have been driven off by the newly rehired Jon Gruden, the very same coach who drafted him back in 2000, during Gruden’s first run on the Raiders sideline.
This move was not a surprise, as Janikowski is 40 years old and missed all of 2017 with a back injury, but for fans of a certain age, it’s oddly kind of sad. Many 20-something NFL-watchers literally cannot remember a league that did not feature Janikowski kicking for Oakland. Babies who were born the day Janikowski was drafted are now finishing up their senior years of high school, having never lived through a season during which Janikowski was not a Raider.
With Janikowski gone, Oakland will likely turn over kicking responsibilities to Giorgio Tavecchio, who made 16 of 21 field goals last year after Janikowski was placed on injured reserve shortly before the season.
We wish Tavecchio luck, of course, but somehow it just won’t be the same to watch Oakland play and know that for the first time in nearly two decades, Sebastian Janikowski is not around.