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Packers Elevating Kicker For Sunday vs. Cowboys; Here’s Why

Veteran Mason Crosby has played in 250 consecutive games but is battling a sore back.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers have elevated kicker Ramiz Ahmed to the gameday roster for Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Why? Reliable veteran Mason Crosby was limited at practice all week with a sore back. While he will play, Ahmed will handle kickoffs, a source told Packer Central on Saturday morning.

Crosby has had a solid year as a kicker, making 9-of-11 field goals (one was blocked and one was missed on a bad snap) and all 17 point-after attempts. However, his kickoffs have been an ongoing issue, and a sore back and a cold day will not help. He’s last among kickers in touchback percentage (27.3), hangtime (3.69 seconds) and net average (40.2 yards) and is second-to-last in average distance (64.2 yards), according to the official league stats and Pro Football Focus.

The 38-year-old Crosby has played in 250 consecutive games. That’s the longest active streak in the NFL. Drafted by the Packers in 2007, he’s handled kicking duties in every game during his tremendous career. That includes Week 1 at Minnesota after spending training camp on the physically unable to perform list following knee surgery.

With Crosby sidelined for training camp, Gabe Brkic handled kicking duties for the first half of camp. Brkic struggled, though, and suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason game at San Francisco. Ahmed signed with the Packers on Aug. 14 fresh off a USFL season in which he made a 61-yard field goal.

Ahmed, who has a unique story even by a kicker’s standards, proved to be more than just a strong leg. He missed only two kicks at training camp and didn’t miss any in his two preseason games.

“If I’m on sticks, the farthest kick I’ve ever hit was 73,” he said. “I used to train that a lot more and chase the big balls but it’s not necessarily something that I do anymore. It’s not something that keeps you in the NFL. Maybe it gets your some looks but, once you’re in the door, you’ve got to make kicks. That’s what I’m focused on right now.”

Ahmed has been on the practice squad all year, and maybe not just for insurance. Crosby is in his final season under contract.

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