Oakland Raiders say Sebastian Janikowski won’t return for 2018 season


ALAMEDA, Calif. — Speculation on Sebastian Janikowski re-signing with the Oakland Raiders and reuniting with coach Jon Gruden was quelled Wednesday as the team told the veteran left-footed place-kicker that it does not plan to bring him back for the 2018 season, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Janikowski, the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer with 1,799 points (11th in NFL history), spent last season on injured reserve, and his locker was cleaned out by midseason.

He will turn 40 on March 2 and will be an unrestricted free agent.

Oakland is the only NFL home Janikowski has known. He said last offseason his goal was still to be kicking for the franchise when it moved to Las Vegas in 2020.

“Until they kick me out,” Janikowski said in June, when asked how long he saw himself playing for the Raiders.

The Raiders’ late owner Al Davis drafted Janikowski with the 17th overall selection in the 2000 NFL draft, out of Florida State. Gruden, who then was in the third season of his first tenure as Oakland’s head coach, favored either receiver Sylvester Morris or running back Shaun Alexander in that draft.

“Thank God for Raiders fans they listened to Al Davis and not me,” Gruden said during a radio interview more than a decade later of using a first-round pick on Janikowski. “I’ll say he was right.”

Janikowski played in a franchise-record 268 games in 18 seasons for the Raiders, converting 414 field goals on 515 attempts (10th most in NFL history). He also has made 98.9 percent of his PAT attempts (557-of-563).

His 55 field goals of at least 50 yards are an NFL record. That includes a 63-yarder at Denver in 2011, which at the time tied a league record.

Janikowski appeared in Oakland’s first two preseason games of 2017 before a back issue and reports of the Raiders wanting him to take a pay cut surfaced.

He took a $1 million pay cut and went on injured reserve the day before the season opener at Tennessee. Giorgio Tavecchio, a longtime camp leg, was signed, and he converted 16 of 21 field goal attempts, with a long of 53 yards.

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