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Mare Thinks New Kickoff Rules Will Extend Career

Free agent kicker Olindo Mare, who turns in 38 in June, also thinks the new rules will extend his career. “I think I just added about three or four years onto my career,” Mare told Dave “Softy” Mahler on 950-KJR AM in Seattle about kicking off from the 35-yard line.

Mare has averaged 21 touchbacks in his three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, numbers that figure to increase with the five-yard change. Unlike most kickers, though, Mare recognizes that the new rules will take away an exciting part of the game.

“I think there’s a few things, and I could be one of the only people to think one of these ways, but the first thing is, I think you eliminate the guys like (Seahawks running back) Leon Washington,” said Mare. “I think, you know, people enjoy that (long kick returns). I don’t enjoy it, you know, watching guys go the other way on me, but I respect what he does. There’s not many guys in the league, and there’s not many normal guys in the world, that would want to just run full-speed and hope they get through this hole where everyone is trying to light them up, so you’re taking a big play away from the game.”

Mare expects “twice as many touchbacks, at least” with the new rules, which he thinks could give older and younger guys who may not have bigger legs on kickoffs a chance to earn roster spots. Franchised by the Seahawks last off-season due, in part, to the advantage his big leg on kickoffs gave the team in the field position battle, Mare suspects coaches will prefer to give the opposing team the ball at the 20-yard line.

“But then you also have the coaches who are like ‘Hey listen, kick it out of the end zone, they’re going to start on the 20 no matter what’,” Mare said. “As a coach, if you want to do that, I mean that’s a huge advantage. If I say ‘Hey Pete (Carroll), I’m just going to kick this in the end zone’. ‘Hey, by all means, go ahead’. I don’t think guys are going to try to kick it to corners and get better field position. The last thing you want to do is give a guy like Leon a chance, you know.

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