August 26 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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After the 2002 draft it seemed inconceivable to think that the 49ers would carry two place kickers this season. But with a heated battle all summer, and no clear winner, General Manager Terry Donahue is speaking as if thereís a distinct possibility of it happening.
In the NFL it is quite unorthodox to carry three kickers on a roster. But Donahue sees value in such a move. Donahue explains that having one kicker for kickoffs and one for putting the ball between the uprights, and of course a punter, as something he is interested in trying. He also explains the possibility of one place kicker doing all the work, and if he begins to struggle, having someone that can step in. Of course, having an extra kicker would also give the team some trade bait once injuries start taking their toll throughout the NFL.
The 49ers believe that given that the bottom of their roster often doesnít even suit up for games, having an extra kicker manning one of these spots, if the team retains them solely for trade bait, would be a good way to have some leverage in trade talks.
Both Jose Cortez, who was with the team last season, and rookie Jeff Chandler have kicked well this off-season. Cortez has done better during the pre-season games, and carries a much smaller salary. Chandler on the other hand began coming on strong lately in games. Both kickers have done a very good job in practice.
As the 49ers trim down their roster, itís quite certain that both kickers will remain at least until the very final kicks. The team is likely to explore all possibilities with these two players before it finally makes a decision.