The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 26, 2013

Suisham stays calm in midst of great year

PITTSBURGH — Some players live for the big moment.

Shaun Suisham is not one of them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker says he takes the same approach no matter the circumstances.

It’s one of the reasons why he treated his field goal as time expired in last week’s 19-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens like just another kick.

“Sure, it’s great to make those, but I’d rather kick eight extra points and go home after a big win,” Suisham said. “If I have to kick field goals, it’s OK. That’s my job, but I don’t need to kick game-winners to be happy.”

That even-keeled attitude certainly has served Suisham well since coming to the Steelers (2-4) in 2010.

He is 42-for-45 in the past two seasons, including six game-winners. He is a perfect 14-for-14 through 2013 heading into Sunday’s game against Oakland (2-4).

“He’s definitely kicking the best I’ve ever seen,” long-snapper Greg Warren said.

Including a sub-par 2011 when he missed eight field goals, Suisham has made 79 of 91 field goals during his tenure with Pittsburgh.

That’s a success rate of 86 percent, which is better than the team-record set by Norm Johnson, who made 82 percent of his kicks from 1995-98.

“I’ve got no interest in patting myself on the back or talking about making or missing field goals,” Suisham said. “I’m just here to do my job, but it wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t surrounded by a lot of talented people who make my job a lot easier. The entire operation, the snapper, the holder and myself, there’s a lot that goes into that 1.2 seconds on the field.”

Warren has spent all of his nine NFL seasons with the Steelers, so he also was the snapper for place-kicker Jeff Reed, who had a personality much different from Suisham’s calm demeanor.

Punter Zoltan Mesko, who just joined the Steelers this season, is just glad to be working with two consummate professionals.

“Each kicker can be a different type of person,” Mesko said. “Shaun is a great kicker. He’s really talented, and he has a great work ethic.

“And Greg, he does a great job as well. He really makes my job easier, putting the ball right where I need it to be. I guess that’s why we’ve been so successful this season.”

Notes: Pittsburgh TE Richard Gordon (toe) and WR Markus Wheaton (finger) will not play Sunday. ... The rest of the injured players are probable after a full week of practices. That group includes OT Kelvin Beachum (ribs), WR Jerricho Cotchery (abdomen), OG Ramon Foster (thumb), OT Marcus Gilbert (quad), DE Cameron Heyward (illness), LB Jarvis Jones (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (ribs), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), LB Lawrence Timmons (hand) and LB LaMarr Woodley (knee). All are expected to play ... The Steelers kick off against Oakland at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at O.co Coliseum.

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