O'HARA: Bullock looking for longevity with Lions

Randy Bullock would like to add another sizable link to the Detroit Lions' chain of kickers that is short on numbers but long on durability.

The Lions have had three primary kickers in 40 of the last 41 seasons. The exception was 2013, when David Akers served as a bridge kicker for one season after the retirement of Jason Hanson.

Akers had longevity, just not with the Lions. The 2013 season was his last in a sterling 16-year career.

Otherwise, Lions kickers have been built for the long haul in Detroit – except for injuries and one rough span at the start of the 2014 season that resulted in two changes of kickers.

"I've actually heard that several times," Bullock said this week of the longevity of Lions kickers. "That's really impressive. That's awesome. I hope I add on to that. That the ultimate goal.

"I want to be here for a long time, do a good job, play at a high level and do my part to help this team win."

The Lions' kicker chain was put together as follows:

Ed Murray: 12 seasons, 1980-91, after being drafted in the seventh round out of Tulane.

Jason Hanson: 21 seasons, 1992-2012, after being drafted in the second round out of Washington State.

David Akers: One season, 2013 after being signed as a free agent.

Matt Prater: Seven seasons, 2014-20, after being signed as a free agent after five games of the 2014 season. Prater signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in the 2021 offseason.

Bullock has spent nine seasons in the NFL. The last four full seasons and part of 2017 were with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bullock has faced competition in Detroit. It first came from Matthew Wright, who spent part of 2020 with the Steelers and was signed by the Lions in the offseason.

More recently, the Lions signed Zane Gonzalez when Bullock had some struggles in training camp. Gonzalez was with the Cardinals the last three years after two with Cleveland.

The kickers have gotten scant work in the two preseasons games. Bullock has made all of his kicks – three field goals of 28, 27 and 28 yards and an extra point. Gonzalez made an extra point, his only attempt.

Bullock, 31, doesn't seem ruffled by competition, or of some of the unexpected challenges that arise during games.

"I feel great overall," Bullock said. "For the most part I've had a great training camp. There's been a couple days where I missed some kicks, but for the most part I feel great. I'm ready to go.

"What I do is, I compete against myself every day. If I do my job, I'm in a good situation."

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.

Bullock had to make an adjustment on one field goal against the Bills. The snap was low and outside in baseball terms. Punter Jack Fox got the ball spotted, and there was no effect on Bullock.

"It's all timing," he said. "You're going regardless. Put the ball down. It's my job to make it.

"You can't prepare for anything like that. You have to keep your same tempo and trust it and go through that.

"You get limited reps. You have to make every snap count."

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