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“You don’t know how a young guy is going to react to things. I think a lot of coaches like older guys, because they know what they’re going to get. If they miss, it’s not out of fear, they just happen to miss. So kickers are sticking around a little bit longer.”

“Is there a magic number of misses that would cause a kicker to say to himself, ‘I’m gone’?”

“I don’t know if it’s that. Right now, they’re not kicking as many long field goals, so the percentages for kickers have gone way, way up. It’s easy for a team that doesn’t play well to say, ‘Well, we missed that 49-yard field goal in the first quarter. Had we made it, we would have won.’

“They look for little things to blame. It’s pretty obvious kickers take a lot of heat. With better teams, coaches look at what you do in bigger situations and ask themselves, ‘What kind of an effect does this have on the outcome of the season?’ and not so much on what your percentage is. You can kid yourself with percentages. I’ll give you a prime example. We had one game we kicked a 45-yard field goal at the end to beat Philadelphia. It was the same day a kicker in Minnesota kicked seven field goals to win 21–18. Basically, those games are identical.”

I…don’t…get…it. “Being a kicker seems like a good football job. You can be a normal-sized person, and usually, the no-necks aren’t jumping on you…”

Bahr laughs again. “That’s the good part.”

“How about the practice part? I assume you weren’t out there doing two-a-days?”

“A little bit of that. By the same token, there were a lot of guys who liked that part of it but didn’t like kicking on Sunday. All of a sudden it counted.

“Kicking has a lot of ups and downs. You’re very physical every time you do it. You’re out there by yourself. There’s no question whether you succeeded or failed. It’s an interesting job, like a relief pitcher.”

Bahr played 210 NFL games. “You must have a Super Bowl ring since you were kicking for the Raiders during most of the ’80s.”

“Right, two of them. I never wear them. My brother has a couple rings too, and he’s the same way. If we’re going to speak somewhere or we’re doing a golf tournament or an outing, people tend to ask, so you wear them or bring them along, but otherwise, no.”

“What have you been doing since football?”

“Well, I worked as an attorney for a short time, got out of that. I’ve been in financial services for the past eight years. I have an investment firm with two other guys. We handle professional athletes, try to get them out of the game with a little bit of money in the bank.”

Bahr enrolled into Salmon P. Chase College of Law (Highland Heights, Kentucky). He was playing for Cincinnati at the time. He earned his law degree 5H years later from Southwestern University School of Law (Los Angeles), while kicking for the Raiders. “Do you miss football?”

“Initially. I’ll tell you what you miss — and you’ll probably get the same response from everybody — you miss the camaraderie of the locker room, of being that close to 45, 50 guys.”

Ladies, this is a guy thing. “What is it that you see or feel while you’re playing that the rest of us don’t see or feel?”

“One thing people don’t understand, even though they think they understand, is how violent the game is. You don’t have any appreciation of how violent it is unless you’re close. I’ve sat in the stands, watched games, and you don’t get the same feel.

“I remember the day I noticed it the most. My brother was a rookie with the Steelers. I remember sitting in the stands during the [1979] afc Championship game, Pittsburgh against Houston [in Pittsburgh]. There were some hits during the game. I knew how vicious they were, but you don’t feel it in the stands. Without the sounds, you don’t understand.”

“Is it annoying to see the kind of money players are making today?”

“No. I’m all for it. The money is there. The one thing I’ve said for 25 years is, ‘No one ever held a gun to an owner’s head and said, “You have to pay me this amount of money.” ’ Owners can say no, but they choose not to.

“There was a hierarchy when I played. If you were a starting offensive lineman for five years, you generally made more than the guy who started for three years. Now you get a kid coming out of college who is making more than somebody who has played for seven or eight years. You have a disparity between the high-priced guys and the low-priced guys. You’ve got a two-tier system now. Take Ryan Leaf. He didn’t deserve a nickel. He’s done nothing to earn a penny, and he’s probably set for life.”

“I think San Diego fans will tell you they hope Ryan Leaf handles his money as well as he handles the football.”

“Guys like that, they gave him so much money and he never amounted to anything. I don’t know if he ever will. I don’t mind giving signing bonuses to kids, but those big salaries, for people who have never proved themselves, are ridiculous.”

Ralf Mojsiejenko then. "I remember college more than pros. I remember beating Michigan at Michigan in front of 105,000 people, and they were 19-point favorites.”

Ralf Mojsiejenko

  • Position: punter
  • Played for Chargers: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
  • San Diego Chargers’ Record: 1985 (8–8), 1986 (4–12), 1987 (strike year, 8–7), 1988 (6–10)
  • Current Residence: Bridgman, Michigan
  • Born January 28, 1963, in Salzgitter, Germany
  • High School: Bridgman High School (Bridgman, MI)
  • College: Michigan State
  • Height: 6' 3"
  • Weight: 209
  • Drafted Round 4 by San Diego in 1985
  • NFL Career
  • San Diego Chargers: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
  • Washington Redskins: 1989, 1990
  • San Francisco 49ers: 1991

“What are you doing nowadays?”

“I live in the town I grew up in. After football I got into sales with a guy who started a trucking company. I went to college with him at Michigan State. We’re an expediting company and go all over the country.”

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