CINCINNATI (AP) After sticking with kicker Mike Nugent during the worst slump of his 12-year career, the Bengals gave up on him Tuesday and acquired former Steelers kicker Randy Bullock off waivers.
Nugent was 23 of 29 on field-goal attempts and missed five of his past nine extra-point tries. He missed an extra point – caused partly by a bad snap – and a 36-yard field goal during a 23-10 win in snowy Cleveland on Sunday. He also made a 44-yard field goal.
As Nugent’s missed kicks added up, coach Marvin Lewis supported him. He said the team was confident Nugent could fix his problems and become reliable again. The misses in Cleveland – and Bullock’s availability – prompted a change of heart.
”Mike is a tremendous teammate and has been an integral part of the Bengals for seven seasons,” Lewis said in a statement on the players’ day off. ”This was a difficult decision, but one we felt was in the best interest of the football team moving forward.”
Bullock was waived by the Steelers on Monday with kicker Chris Boswell back from an injury. He’ll be kicking against his former team on Sunday when the Steelers visit Paul Brown Stadium.
Pittsburgh (8-5) ended the Bengals’ season in January at Paul Brown Stadium when it rallied for an 18-16 victory in the first round of the playoffs. The Steelers can eliminate Cincinnati (5-7-1) from playoff contention on Sunday with another win.
Bullock has played in 45 games since Houston drafted him in the fifth round in 2012, going 78 of 96 on field-goal tries. He has missed only four of his 95 point-after-touchdown attempts.
Bullock opened the season with the Giants and made two of three extra-point tries. The Steelers signed him when Boswell got hurt, and he made his three field-goal attempts and his only point-after try for Pittsburgh.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL