OAKLAND, Calif. — The left-footed Polish kicker who has played more games and scored more points than any player in Raiders history delivered a final contribution Wednesday to the only franchise he’s known across an 18-year NFL career.
Sebastian Janikowski is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 14. This month, the Raiders notified him that they won’t retain his services. Janikowski, who will turn 40 on March 2, missed all of last season to a back injury. The team is expected to proceed with Giorgio Tavecchio as kicker, although it could add competition before training camp.
Janikowski joined the Raiders in 2000 as a first-round pick from Florida State. He played 268 games and scored 1,799 points.
”The Davis family, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the Raider Nation have always stood with me, supported me, and believed in me. For this, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) February 21, 2018
The Raiders distributed his statement on Wednesday afternoon. It reads as follows:
“It hardly seems like 18 years ago that my name was called as a first round draft pick by Al Davis to play for the Oakland Raiders. This was my dream come true. I was thrilled to know that I was chosen to be a Raider.
“At the age of 16, my father, mother and I had come to America from Poland in hopes of a better life. This was my big opportunity. I was given a chance to achieve the great American dream.
“From my first day in training camp, I knew I was where I belonged. I loved every minute of it. I will always remember how Al Davis made me feel that he truly believed and had confidence in me. The Davis family, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the Raider Nation have always stood with me, supported me, and believed in me. For this, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“I feel as if I have grown up as an Oakland Raider. Through this great journey, I met and married my wife, and we have been blessed with three beautiful little girls.
“I always knew that one day my time with the Oakland Raiders would come to an end, but I have to say, that never would have been too soon. It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the Silver and Black for these past 18 years. Words cannot express my gratitude to Mark Davis and the Raider Nation. No one could have said it better than Mr. Davis, but it is with pride and enthusiasm that I would tell my teammates to “Just win, baby!”
His agent Paul Healy recently deemed Janikowski “healthy now” and “ready” to resume kicking in the NFL.