Kicking accuracy, opera: Footnotes in Raven plackicker’s career

LAUREL – Should Baltimore Ravens’ placekicker Justin Tucker ever blow out his knee or tear his Achilles Tendon, he might have something else to fall back on.

His voice.

He can sing opera.

Last December, his baritone delivery of “Ava Maria” spurred a standing ovation from a full house during a benefit concert for Catholic Charities in Baltimore. He has been reportedly sought by other marquee opera houses.

Mr. Tucker, 26, says he dabbles in opera “a little bit.”

Interestingly, the Houston, Tex., native was on a different career path when he enrolled at the University of Texas.

tucker with brocato

Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynn Brocato Showacre shares a Kodak moment with Ravens’ placekicker Justin Tucker Saturday at Nanticoke Health Services’ health fair/business expo.

“When I first started studying at the University of Texas I was on track to be a broadcast journalism major. And I took my first journalism class – and no offense – it was like it wasn’t for me. It was just such a grind,” said Mr. Tucker, the guest sports celebrity at Nanticoke Health Services’ health fair/business expo on Saturday.

“I went through the thought process of like; I want to get my degree but not feel like I’m going to school. Ideally, if I am going to get a job outside of football I want it to feel like fun,” he said. “I want it to be fun or something that I enjoy doing.”

Enter the music world.

“So I got into music school doing recording stuff,” said Mr. Tucker. “Part of my degree requirement was I had to sing or take voice lessons for two semesters. It was something I thought would just grind through, but I ended up really enjoying it and taking a liking to it.”

Until future notice, Mr. Tucker will be a Baltimore Raven. At least for this coming year.

The Ravens tagged Mr. Tucker as their “franchise” player in late February. Reports are the one-year franchise tag is $4.5 million.

Meanwhile, the Ravens and Mr. Tucker have until mid-July to work out a long-term deal before the franchise contract takes effect.

“Right now it is for a one-year period,” said Mr. Tucker. “But that can all get worked out before training camp starts to where we work out a long-term deal. I am optimistic that will happen.”

Signed by the Ravens in 2012 as an undrafted free agent, Mr. Tucker has blossomed into one of the most accurate placekickers in NFL history.

He connected on 33 of 40 attempts in 2015 and is 130 for 148 in his NFL career. He is PAT-perfect, 139 for 139.

His athletic roots were initially sewn on the soccer field.

“I started playing soccer when I was really young. Then in high school I was playing both football and soccer. The transition was just a little bit more natural for me,” said Mr. Tucker. “I was also a wide receiver, free safety and a cornerback in high school. I wasn’t just kicking. I made sure that I was able to take out that aggression that I couldn’t in soccer on the football field. And you can’t really do that was a kicker as often as you can as a free safety. So the transition was pretty natural for me as far as kicking a soccer ball and then turning into kicking a lemon-shape ball. It is a little bit different.”

This past season, Ravens fans suffered through a 5-11 campaign. A few years before there was the glory of winning Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

“As far as the general outlook for our football team, I think last year coming into the season we would have all thought that we had a great thing ready to go. We just weren’t able to win a number of close games,” said Mr. Tucker. “There is a lot of things that you could point to but it doesn’t even really matter; what is in the past is in the past. All we can do is try to get a little bit better each and every day at practice and try to build some momentum.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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