Former Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent is 35 years old and is coming off of a season where he was released by the team he cheered for as a kid in the Cincinnati Bengals.
Time to hang it up? Not even close, Nugent told Buckeye Sports.
“I have got 12 years in, but my goal has always been 20 so I still have eight to go,” Nugent said. “I am absolutely looking forward to the next opportunity to keep going and hopefully with my next team, I will spend eight years. That would be amazing.”
Nugent is coming off a season in which he converted on 23 of 29 field goals with the Bengals, but also missed six extra points, more than he had missed in his entire career combined.
While he is looking forward to his next challenge, Nugent said he looks back fondly on his time in Cincinnati where he spent seven of his 12 years in the NFL.
“I grew up cheering for (the Bengals) as a kid. I think my parents had season tickets for about 20-25 years,” Nugent said. “When I got the call in February or March of 2010 and my agent told me the Bengals wanted to work me out. It was honestly a dream come true. I got to play for the team I grew up cheering for. It was so much fun to be able to play for them and I was treated amazing.”
Despite still trying to make it back onto an NFL roster, Nugent said he still pays close attention to the team he won a national title with in 2002. While he had plenty of success as a kicker with Ohio State, including winning the Lou Groza Award as a senior in 2004, the Buckeyes have struggled to find the same success at his position.
An Ohio State kicker has not converted on a kick of 50 or more yards since Drew Basil hit a 52 yarder in 2012. During his time at OSU (2001-04), Nugent converted on eight of his nine attempts from 50+ yards and still holds the record for the longest kick made in Ohio Stadium history, a 55 yard kick that defeated Marshall in 2004. The record for the longest kick made by an OSU player is still held by Tom Skladany, who drilled a 59 yard kick at Illinois in 1975.
Nugent, who still holds the Ohio State program record for career points scored (356), told Buckeye Sports he has confidence that OSU will turn its fortunes around at the kicker position.
“I have met the last few guys that were there and they are amazing guys. I think Coach (Urban) Meyer does a great job of putting pressure on the kickers in practice. That is great for those guys,” Nugent said. “Nothing can simulate how you feel in the game but I think the coaches do a good job of getting those guys in the closest possible scenario.”
To read the entire interview with Nugent, in which he discusses his recruitment to OSU and expectations for the 2017 team, be sure to sign up for four free issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More.”. For four free trial issues of BSB with no obligation, click here.