The Buffalo Bills signed punter Brian Stahovich last month after he impressed team officials at a tryout.
According to the Bills’ official site, Stahovich was consistently booming punts with hang times between 4.6 and 4.9 seconds.
Last year following the release of long-time Bills punter, Brian Moorman, the Bills had a big void at the position.
While special teams players tend to get overlooked in the grand scheme of things, it was evident that the Bills needed an upgrade. Stahovich will likely have every opportunity to snatch the starting role in training camp, as he competes with fellow punter Shawn Powell.
Stahovich, a two-time All-Mountain West selection out of San Diego State University was kind enough to answer some questions with BillsMafia.com, as he readies himself to compete with Powell for the job.
As always, be sure to follow him on Twitter, (@AztcBeast14) as he’s always interacting with fans!
Can you explain the process of the Bills’ tryout?
Well, the Bills had called my agent a month or so prior to the mini camp inviting me to the mini camp on a try out basis. I had been preparing already for any opportunity that could pop up, because you never know when you are going to get a call from a team to come work out.
From there I came in and got to jump straight into full team punt. Like anyone, I wish I would have hit a few balls better and really blown the doors off the field house, but I felt confident in how I had done over the three day mini camp.
Next thing I know my agent called me saying they wanted to sign me and it was unreal I couldn’t even believe it!
Since you’ve arrived in Buffalo, you’ve been interacting with the fans on Twitter. What has been your reaction to the city so far, especially being that you’re from California?
The fans have been showing me a lot of twitter love since joining the team! I like the city a lot, it’s very different from California because there is so much history here.
Most of San Diego is all new buildings but here, especially downtown, you see a lot of the older architecture and a lot of places that have a history to them which is pretty neat.
After going undrafted, you went on with the Colts. How long were you with them, and what’d you learn in your first NFL setting?
I learned a lot with the Colts, and I was very fortunate that Adam Vinatieri took me under his wing early on and really helped me learn the ins and outs of our everyday activities.
He gave me critiques on my holding style as well as coaching me up on kickoffs. The guy is a legend and getting to hit the field with him everyday was the highlight of me being there.
Outside of football, what are some of your hobbies?
I love the outdoors; fishing, hiking all that good stuff. I try to stay pretty active. At least once a week, I take my dog to the dog beach in San Diego, but I’m eager to get out and explore Buffalo! I also have a pretty good sense of humor and love to laugh so anything funny I’m always in the mood for.
How do you say your last name?
Stuh-ha-vich. It’s Polish.
When you were a little kid, did you have dreams of becoming an NFL player? Or did you pick up punting later on in your career?
Well I started out in 5th grade. I wanted to kick because my dad kicked in high school and he was working with the kicker on our Pop Warner team. So I started to kick, but knew I didn’t have the leg strength then, I could barely get the ball to roll. It was BAD. But I knew if I kept kicking I would get better. I kicked for three years in Pop Warner, four years in high school, where I also started at cornerback, and four years in college [at San Diego State University].
Did you kick field goals as well, or did you just focus on punting?
I did everything up through high school, and then once I went to college all I did was punt.
What’s the furthest that you’ve ever punted a ball?
My career long in college was 89 yards. It was 64 yards in the air, and then it rolled and then the guy knocked it out of bounds. I just tried to line drive it over his head, but it went way over his head. I was like, “please don’t catch it please don’t catch it,” then it rolled, but he knocked it out of bounds at his own 8 yard line. He had more than enough room to get a decent return, but I was like thank God that you did not get that and just run it back at us.
What’s your favorite part of being a Bills player so far?
I would just say the city and the fans. But the fans are definitely the #1 thing about being a Buffalo Bills player. Wherever you go in the city, whether it be our hotel, just walking down the street, or the local Target, all of the fans are really excited about the upcoming season and are just really nice.
Who was your idol growing up?
The #1 person I looked up to the most I would say was my dad, because of his whole life story. Both of my parents are from Minnesota. He came out from Minnesota to San Diego. All he came with was his pick up truck and nothing else. But when he got here in San Diego he worked his butt off and supported his family. To me, that is the most respectable thing that one guy could ever do.
What kind of music do you listen to? Who’s your favorite artist?
I kind of listen to everything, it just kind of depends. Every morning I get on Pandora and listen to Metallica. But I also listen to country as well; my favorite country artist is Toby Keith.
What’s your favorite spot to vacation?
Well, me and the family always go to Durango, Colorado. We just go out on the lake and have fun. We have family and friends there and we get some fishin’ in.
Do you have any pets?
I have a Doberman named Zeus that I rescued in September last year. He was about 7 months old when i got him and he was quite a handful at first, not very trained.
Later I found out he was raised in a meth house. But he is a very friendly dog and I love him to death!
Who is your favorite athlete of all time? The sport doesn’t matter.
Does Chuck Norris count? Because if I could say Chuck Norris I would go Chuck Norris. If Walker Texas Ranger is on TV to this day, I will still watch it!
Do you have a quote that you live by?
One thing that my dad always told me that is really true is “People don’t plan to fail, but they fail to plan.”
You always need a plan or strategy for anything you do in life, you just can’t go in and wing it.
If you had the opportunity to go to a school and speak to young children, what words of encouragement would you give them?
I would just tell them to work hard. I mean, from where I started, I couldn’t even kick the ball 20 yards. Now, I’m on the Buffalo Bills, which just goes to show that if you put your mind to it and work as hard as you possibly can, you can accomplish just about anything.
Being from San Diego, do you think it will be hard to adjust to Buffalo’s bi-polar weather?
I have heard tons of stories about how brutal the winters can be and how amazing the summers are but for the time I have been here i have loved the weather and there hasn’t been a bad day yet. There has been worse weather in San Diego than Buffalo over the last few weeks.
Growing up, did you ever have the opportunity to meet any of your favorite athletes?
Actually when I was in elementary school and just started kicking we went to the same church that John Carney went to, and I used to always try and find him during church and stare because he is a legend when it comes to specialists in the NFL.
Fortunately enough, I was actually able to work with him coming out of college and getting ready for the NFL combine, and again after I was released from the Colts.
Its crazy to think how I used to stare and want to grow up and be a great NFL kicker like him and now I get to work out with him everyday when I’m in San Diego.