The most accurate kicker in Purdue history looks back fondly on his time with the Seattle Seahawks.
He sat by Terrell Owens at lunch; Pete Carroll called him by his college nickname; He booted back-to-back touchbacks in front of arguably the NFL’s loudest fans.
But something is left to be desired for Carson Wiggs after he was cut from the team for a second time on Aug. 15.
“The NFL is a business,” Wiggs said. “You don’t really understand that until you get cut twice for something you didn’t even do wrong.”
After signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in late April, Wiggs said he missed only one kick before he was cut for the first time on August 1 in order for the Seahawks to sign wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
“I was around the coaches, they were saying good things,” Wiggs said. “I kicked well in the scrimmages and the mock games. It came as a surprise because they needed to fill a roster position.”
The Grand Prairie, Tex. native wasn’t away from the Seahawks for long.
He was sitting around with some friends making plans for the weekend when the franchise called only three days later and asked if he could be on a plane from Indy in four hours.
“I was so surprised,” Wiggs said. “I had four hours to get back to Purdue, pack my bags, and get back down to the airport.”
Wiggs’ took all the kicking reps in the team’s official mock game the next day due to an ankle injury suffered by starting kicker Steven Hauschka. He made 5-of-5 field goals, including a 48-yarder to win the game.
“I hadn’t kicked in three days and I came back and just bombed it and killed it,” Wiggs said. “It was a great feeling.”
He handled kickoff duties in the Seahawks opening preseason game on Aug. 11, hitting all six kicks deep into the end zone, including two touchbacks in the game’s first nine seconds.
“The adrenaline was rushing for that first kick,” Wiggs said. “I hit the second one through the uprights and I went back to the sidelines and just kind of sat on the bench and looked around like ‘This is the NFL.’ I sat there and thought I had made it because I was doing so well.”
But just days later, Wiggs was cut for a second time in order to make room for center Kris O’Dowd. The practice before he his release, he had gone 3-for-3 on kicks against the wind.
“I thought I was close to winning the job,” Wiggs said.
Wiggs said Seahawks General Manager John Schneider told him the Seahawks were comfortable with Hauschka no matter how well Wiggs kicked.
“That was kind of disheartening,” Wiggs said. “But there’s nothing you can really do about that. They were comfortable with the other guy because he had done well last year whether I was better or not.”
Former Purdue kicker/punter Travis Dorsch played for three different NFL teams in three years and punted in in NFL Europe in 2005 and 2006.
Dorsch said the NFL is a “tough business” for specialists. Teams are inclined to keep three or four players at offensive and defensive positions, which allows young guys the chance to come and serve as the understudy to a more experienced player. With specialists, however, there’s usually just one punter and one kicker on the 53-man roster.
“Tough to get a job, tough to keep a job, and tough to take a job,” Dorsch said. “Some of the best kickers in the game today, though, are guys who bounced around for a year or two ... or five. Patience, willingness to work on your own to keep improving, and someone else’s misfortune are the key ingredients.”
Wiggs is back at Purdue to finish up six credit hours in order to graduate, in addition to interning with a local custom home builder.
He took some time off from kicking, disappointed from the cut.
But two weeks ago, he returned to the Mollenkopf Athletic Center to kick once again.
Field goal after field goal flew through the uprights. Kickoff after kickoff blasted through the back of the end zone.
He had to end the workout early because it upset him. He was kicking the ball too well.
“I was doing great in Seattle,” Wiggs said. “I’m still hitting the ball straight and far. All I need is a chance.”